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Opioids: Despite progress in Massachusetts, crisis continues to take lives and hurt families

Across the country, opioid addiction is now taking more young lives than the HIV epidemic did at its peak. Nearly 2 million people in the United States suffer from an addiction to prescription opioids, and about 17,000 people die each year from overdosing on these medications. Massachusetts is one of the hardest hit states, with more than 11,000 deaths between 2000 and 2015.

Yesterday, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) released new data showing that the number of opioid deaths across the Commonwealth topped out at 2,069 in 2016. That's about 6 deaths a day due to opioids.

Not one of the communities in the 4th Middlesex District has escaped the epidemic. In fact, some of the communities here have been especially hard hit. In 2015, there were 30 deaths in our five communities. The new data from DPH show 41 deaths in 2016. Behind each one of those numbers is a person representing the loss of a friend, neighbor, or loved one.

And, it's a crisis that has affected …

Better representation. It's time.

Senator Ken Donnelly was good and kind. His heart and skill as a legislator were matched by his passion and dedication as a public servant on behalf of the People of the 4th Middlesex and beyond. His legacy lives forever in our hearts and in the lives he changed. His genuine interactions with people inspired me in my own public service, and to find an office and run for it.

A Special Election has been called to fill this important seat. I enthusiastically announce my candidacy because I want to provide the best representation to the people of the communities across this district.
Today, people want to be more engaged. But they often don’t understand how the system should work for them. It can be difficult to navigate a complicated established structure to even reach the level where conversations can begin.
We need people in state government who have come up from the ranks, who know what it means to truly represent constituents – at the level of your elementary school or town meeting, …

ATM Continues: Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Back in Battin Hall for the sixth night of 2017 Annual Town Meeting.
Articles, Reports, and Presentations to Date
Live-blogging to begin once we're in session.

7:30 PM
Madam Moderator has called the Meeting to Order.
Updating as we go.
Brief recess for Town Manager announcements
Pat Goddard, Director of Public Facilities to retire this summer - this is his last Town Meeting. Town Manager and Superintendent taking a moment to celebrate and thank Pat for his 10 years of service. Many School and Town staff here.
Standing ovation from Town Meeting for Pat.

Meeting back in order
Motion to take up Articles 37 + 12
VOICE VOTE - MOTION is ADOPTED

Article 37 - Amend General Bylaws - TreesTo see if the Town will vote to amend the Tree Bylaw to provide incentives to preserve large trees and to replant large shade tree species, or act in any other manner in relation theretoi. (Inserted by the Board of Selectmen at the request of the Tree Committee)
Description: Because of the time invested iin its growt…

2017 Annual Town Meeting Continues Tonight, Monday, April 3

We're in Battin Hall in the Cary Memorial Building
1605 Massachusetts Avenue, Lexington
Articles, Reports, and Presentations to Date
Live-blogging to commence once we are in session.

7:30 PM
Madam Moderator has gavelled us in and we're in session.
Updating as we go.
Tribute to Senator Ken Donnelly of Arlington, who passed away yesterday due to complications from brain cancer. Moment of silence.
Checking electronic voting devices.

Article 19 - Getting to Net ZeroTo see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate a sum of money necessary to hire consultants to provide advice and analysis to the Getting to Net Zero Task Force and Town staff, determine whether the money shall be provided by the tax levy, by transfer from available funds or by any combination of these methods, or to act in any other manner in relation thereto. (Inserted by the Board of Selectmen at the request of the Sustainable Lexington Committee)

Funds Requested: $40,000 Description: The Getting to Net Zero Task Force …