In 2018 I was appointed to the Section 35 Commission to study the involuntary treatment of alcohol and substance abuse and was the only member of the commission from western Massachusetts. During the studies, I identified that there was a regional inequity issue when I discovered there was no facility to treat women in western MA needing Section 35 treatment, the closest facility was 2 hours away. I worked with the Executive Office of Health and Human Services to address this issue and begin taking the necessary steps to create a facility in western MA so women needing substance abuse treatment did not have to travel 2 hours to receive it.
I have developed a great working relationship with our area hospitals. In the FY20 State Budget I was able to secure $100,000 for the purpose to support, enhance and expand programming for its “Rooming In Program” for infants and mothers with opioid use disorder. This program helps hospitals keep mothers and infants safe by having them under the supervision of the hospital to monitor health needs and provide support and assistance to the mothers through health care and social services before and after birth.