NEWBURYPORT — Mayor Donna D. Holaday announces that she has joined with 27 mayors from across Massachusetts to push for a federal law change to allow the Drug Enforcement Agency to pursue inappropriate wholesale prescription drug distribution, which fuels the opioid addiction epidemic that has afflicted cities throughout the Commonwealth and across the country.
“Every community in our Commonwealth has been impacted by this opioid epidemic, and Newburyport is not exempt,” Mayor Holaday said. “It is unconscionable given the knowledge we have about opioids and addiction that Congress would strip the DEA of enforcement of the wholesale distribution of these meds to pop up pain clinics.
“For the past several years, we and members of our communities have attended the funerals of friends, and the funerals of the children of friends, with sickening regularity,” the mayors wrote. “What we need and demand on the federal level is a Congress that will prioritize our families over the drug industry, a DEA with the enforcement authority and tools it needs to crack down on illegal corporate drug activity; and a drug czar committed to helping us in our fight instead of supporting industry profit at the expense of our children.”
The letter, addressed to President Donald J. Trump and members of Congress, urges that:
- The next nominee for the nation’s drug czar be free of financial or other connections to the prescription drug distribution industry, and be of unassailable professional and personal character; and
- That Congress repeal and replace the April 2016 law, passed through a parliamentary procedure without debate, that stripped the DEA of critical enforcement authority; the new law must give the DEA the authority to protect the interests of the public and simply cannot be bought and paid for by the legal drug distribution industry.
According to data provided by the White House, since 2000 over 300,000 Americans have died from overdoses involving opioids. Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of injury death in the United States more than traffic crashes and gun-related deaths combined. In 2015, there were 33,091 overdose deaths involving of opioids.
The nation loses 175 people every day to overdose.
The list of signatories includes:
Mayor Richard Cohen, Agawam
Mayor Michael P. Cahill, Beverly
Mayor Joseph C. Sullivan, Braintree
Mayor Bill Carpenter, Brockton
Mayor E. Denise Simmons, Cambridge
City Manager Thomas G. Ambrosino, Chelsea
Mayor Carlo DeMaria, Everett
Mayor Jasiel F. Correia II, Fall River
Mayor Stephen L. DiNatale, Fitchburg
Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken, Gloucester
Mayor William F. Martin, Greenfield
Mayor James F. Fiorentini, Haverhill
Mayor Dan Rivera, Lawrence
Mayor Gary Christenson, Malden
Mayor Arthur Vigeant, Marlborough
Mayor Stephanie Muccini Burke, Medford
Mayor Robert J. Dolan, Melrose
Mayor Jon Mitchell, New Bedford
Mayor Donna D. Holaday, Newburyport
Mayor Setti Warren, Newton
Mayor Richard J. Alcombright, North Adams
Mayor Ted Bettencourt, Peabody
Mayor Linda M. Tyer, Pittsfield
Mayor Brian M. Arrigo, Revere
Mayor Domenic J. Sarno, Springfield
Mayor Thomas C. Hoye, Jr., Taunton
Mayor William Reichelt, West Springfield
Mayor Scott D. Galvin, Woburn