Shrewsbury – State Representative Hannah Kane (R-Shrewsbury) recently joined fellow invitees at the White House Conference with Massachusetts, Maine and Vermont state and local leaders. Administered by the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, the day-long conference offered state and local leaders from the commonwealth the opportunity to hear remarks from and engage in discussion with key administration officials and policymakers on issues significant to Massachusetts.
Held in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, the White House Conference afforded attendees the opportunity to engage with officials on matters especially pertinent to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, including the opioid epidemic, labor and workforce development, and transportation infrastructure. Kane and her colleagues heard from Acting Director and Deputy Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy Jim Carroll; U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta; and a senior staff member for the U.S. Department of Transportation, among others.
Kane noted that as ranking minority member of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Public Health, as well as a member of the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery and the Central Massachusetts Opioid Task Force and Shrewsbury Coalition for Addiction Prevention and Education (SCAPE), the policy overview from and dialogue with Carroll was particularly critical and beneficial. According to Carroll, approximately 72,000 lives were lost in the United States due to the opioid epidemic in 2017 alone. The number of opioid-related fatalities in 2017 is roughly 200 each day, the equivalent of an at-capacity commercial airliner crashing daily.
During his remarks, Carroll highlighted the need and decision to declare the opioid crisis a national public health emergency, as well as the importance of viewing the opioid epidemic from a public health lens and disease-oriented approach. He also stressed the value of prevention efforts, and in particular youth education and outreach, citing a statistic which found that every $1 invested on prevention yields approximately $12-17 in savings in treatment costs.
A strong supporter of the commonwealth’s nationally renowned 2016 “STEP” Act and more recently, the 2018 “CARE” Act, Kane remains fiercely committed to combatting the opioid epidemic in Massachusetts and is eager to continue work on this devastating issue in the coming legislative session.