DA Ryan Joins Panel at the Arlington Youth Health and Safety Community Meeting

On Tuesday, October 13, 2015, District Attorney Marian Ryan joined a panel discussion on the opioid crisis sponsored by the Arlington Youth Health and Safety Coalition, moderated by Arlington Police Chief Fred Ryan.  Panel participants included:

  • Marian Ryan, Middlesex District Attorney
  • Maura Healey, Attorney General
  • Arlington Police Chief Fred Ryan
  • Rebecca Wolfe, Arlington Police Department Clinical Responder
  • Mike Duggan, Founder of Wicked Sober
  • Dr. Alex Walley, Massachusetts DPH's Opioid Overdose Prevention Pilot Program Director

District Attorney Ryan has been out front of this issue since 2012, when she and Senator Eileen Donoghue formed the Lowell Opioid Task Force in response to the escalating overdoses in the city of Lowell and surrounding communities.

DA Ryan's multi-pronged approach includes Education • Prevention • Intervention • Treatment • Prosecution • Legislation.

  • Focusing on large-scale drug distribution and those who profit from opioid addiction through multi-agency, intragovernmental investigations.
  • Developing investigatory policies to aid in the identification of drug profiteers (implemented a policy to collect cell phones at the scene of an overdose death to zero in on drug distribution rings).
  • Providing communities with Drug Collection Boxes that allow members of the public to safely dispose of unused medication (to date, boxes have been donated to 36 communities). 
  • Sponsoring county-wide drug destruction days for municipalities to clear out their drug collection units. 
  • Using revenue from the 94C Section 47 Drug Forfeiture process to provide Middlesex County first responders with doses of Narcan (approximately 540 doses to date).
  • Regionalizing efforts among stakeholders to set priorities, develop strategy, streamline activities and allocate resources more effectively. 
  • Partnering with healthcare professionals, child welfare advocates and law enforcement to create trauma-informed interventions and long-term service plans for children who witness a family member overdose. 
  • Drafting and filing legislation to create new laws and improve existing laws (pending bills would restrict access to opiates; regulate NBOMe, a new synthetic drug; and provide a charging option for drug distributers who cause death).
  • Hosting trainings for healthcare providers and dentists on risk assessment and chronic pain management.
  • Hosting train-the-trainer seminars for first responders on how to administer Narcan.
  • Organizing education forums for community partners.

Key Accomplishments

  • Advocated for the May 2014 opening of the Lowell Drug Court (35 individuals have been accepted to the Court for substance abuse monitoring and treatment).
  • Established the Lowell Opioid Task Force and the Eastern Middlesex Opioid Task Force.
  • Launched the Mobile Public Policy Dialogue Forum (“Crafting a Solution from the Inside”),    a panel of recovering opioid users who discuss their personal experiences and offer corresponding policy recommendations. 
  • Partnered with Hallmark Health System and other stakeholders to develop a collaborative model to address maternal substance use disorders, providing wraparound services to mothers and substance exposed newborns (an outgrowth of MDAO’s Safe Babies, Safe Kids Task Force).
  • Created a Realtor Education Program to raise awareness about the importance of securing medication during the home selling process.  


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