Candidate for State Representative Pledges Support for those battling with Substance Abuse and Addiction and Recovery as a major priority on Beacon Hill
(MEDFORD, MA) The substance abuse epidemic has hit the communities of Somerville and Medford hard and no one knows more than the families left to deal with the aftermath of that addiction, including Erin DiBenedetto.
“My brother Tom was a typical Somerville High School teenager. He spent his time going to school, working a part time job and hanging out or riding around with his friends on the weekends. Being a small guy, Tom never really liked drinking, but started smoking pot and quickly escalated from that to cocaine, before eventually becoming a heroin addict. I can remember being 16 and out with my own friends, seeing Tom staggering home from Trum Field and having to help bring him home.”
Erin is sharing her story on her website (www.erin4rep.com/tomsstory) in the hopes that she can help other families fight for their loved ones and to announce her effort to work to ensure Somerville and Medford will have accesses to the resources we need to fight this important battle – and win.
“Tom’s addiction and sharing of needles during drug use cause Tom to contract AIDS. At the too young age of 44, we lost my brother to his disease. It broke the hearts of everyone who knew him, though he remains in the thoughts of every person who loved him.”
Drug addiction affects not only the addict but also all of their families and our whole community. As a State Representative, DiBenedetto has pledged to fight to ensure families and addicts get the help they need to keep other families from the suffering the loss her family experienced because of Tom’s addiction and death.
“We need to do more to support the families who are struggling in these situations and to educate our community about prevention and dealing with the epidemic that currently exists in our cities. We can’t simply ignore this situation while in generation of Somerville and Medford continues to disappear. Now is the time to take action and as your representative to Beacon Hill, I’m ready to fight for our community.”
DiBenedetto is asking supporters in Somerville and Medford to sign her petition in support of Senate Bill 1965, An Act to Increase Opportunities for Long-Term Substance Abuse Recovery through her website at www.erin4rep.com.
The Senate Bill, introduced by John F. Keenan (D-Quincy) would remove barriers to treatment by requiring public and private insurers cover acute treatment services and substance abuse treatment services delivered by licensed alcohol and drug counselors as well as authorizing the Commissioner of Public Health to issue regulations for opiates determined to have a “heightened level of public health risk” due to the potential for abuse. The bill would also strengthen the Prescription Monitoring Program by requiring physician training and periodic consultation of the Program for patients receiving ongoing treatment of a controlled substance.
“I also believe that every first responder in Somerville and Medford should be trained to use Narcan – a medication that has saved thousands of lives in the Commonwealth in the last several years,” said DiBenedetto.
The road toward conquering these problems will be long – and Erin believes these are just the first steps – but the movement toward stopping this epidemic must begin now:
“We can do better for our loved ones and our community. The time has come for action.”