By Mary Blake, WBZ NewsRadio 1030

BOSTON (CBS) – “We now have more deaths from overdoses than we do from car accidents,” notes Jamaica Plain State Rep. Liz Malia. She chairs the House side of the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Committee and has been very vocal about the need for legislative action. “We’re really at a position where we’re starting to take first steps.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Mary Blake reports

“Prevention and intervention are really where we need to spend our money, and we just don’t have that system up yet,” she says. Malia has fought her own addiction battle, as has Boston Mayor Marty Walsh.

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In the first days of his administration, he pledged improvements to the City Office of Addiction and Recovery Services. “A lot of families are afflicted with the disease of alcoholism or drug addiction, and people don’t want to talk about it, so this is obviously going to help families be able to get through difficult times,” Walsh says.

Governor Deval Patrick, in March, dedicated 20 million dollars to increase treatment and recovery services. Last month, Massachusetts Senate President Therese Murray thanked her colleagues for their unanimous approval of a substance abuse bill, and delivered shocking numbers on the youngest victims. “In March of this year, in Massachusetts, we had 125 infants born addicted to mothers who snorted swallowed, or shot drugs,” she says.

Mark and Deb, who live in a Boston suburb, are providing foster care to four children whose parents are drug addicted. The children are 18-years old, another is five and there are two-year-old twins. Mark says they’ve been watching the babies closely since they arrived. “One does not speak at all, so that’s 21 months, that’s a little concerning. But, they seemed to have really blossomed since they’ve been here, both physically and in their personalities,” he says.

Mark’s family size also has blossomed. There are eleven now under his roof. He has four children of his own. He describes this new experience as incredibly rewarding, but also has discovered the care is enormous.

“It’s amazing how much money, actually, you know, how much resources have to be poured into these cases,” he says.



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