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Special Committee To Study Drug Addiction Treatment In Mass.

BOSTON — Citing a rise in overdose deaths, the Massachusetts Senate will create a special committee to study the application of a state law that allows the court system to commit certain individuals to inpatient substance abuse treatment facilities, the Senate president’s office announced in a press release Thursday.

According to the state Department of Health and Human Services, Section 35, as the statute is called, “permits the courts to involuntarily commit someone whose alcohol or drug use puts themselves or others at risk. Such a commitment can lead to an inpatient substance abuse treatment for a period of up to 90 days.”

“Sadly,” Senate President Therese Murray said in the release, “Section 35 often serves as a revolving door for drug addicts with many falling back to their old ways because meaningful treatment has not been available. We need to take a look at what treatment options are available in all regions of the state, if there is a need for change and how we fill that need.”

Murray said the special committee, which will be chaired by state Sen. Jennifer Flanagan, will bring together experts and issue recommendations.

The Senate president’s office said in the release:

According to Trust for America’s Health, the number of drug overdose deaths in Massachusetts has increased by 47 percent since 1999.

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