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Mayor Walsh named as chair of National Task Force on substance abuse, prevention and recovery services

October 8, 2015

Mayor's Office

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Mayor's Office

Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced today that he has been named Chair of a new Conference Task Force on Substance Abuse, Prevention and Recovery Services by the U.S. Conference of Mayors President and Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. The announcement came during the Fall Leadership Meeting held October 2-4 in Baltimore.

The Task Force will focus on the devastating impact of substance abuse and addiction on cities and examine and share information on effective recovery services strategies and approaches. In making the announcement, Mayor Rawlings-Blake cited Mayor Walsh's knowledge of and commitment to the issues the Task Force will address.

"I am honored to serve as the chair of this task force, whose mission of tackling head-on the devastating effects of drug and alcohol abuse and addiction is relevant to the struggles facing many of our cities, including the City of Boston," said Mayor Walsh. "With the ongoing opioids crisis, too many individuals and families are all too familiar with the destruction that substance abuse causes in our homes, workplaces and on our streets. I look forward to teaming up with Mayors from across the country to make sure recovery services are readily available to those who need it, and develop strategies to overcome this public health crisis."

"Mayor Walsh brings a wealth of personal and professional experience to this critical policy discussion," said Rawlings-Blake. "We look forward to his leadership on an issue that is vitally important to the success of our cities and the quality-of-life of our residents."

Understanding the unique needs that those in recovery face, Mayor Walsh joined Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation in May to release a report on the current status of substance abuse and addiction in the City of Boston. The report focuses on how to better align the city's addiction and recovery services with demonstrated best practices. The report also served as a road map for the Mayor's Office of Recovery Services (ORS), the first-ever municipal-based office to focus on this issue. As part of the Boston Public Health Commission, ORS works to improve existing addiction and recovery services and create a continuum of high quality services, help families and those fighting addiction navigate the city's available resources, and work with City Departments, community partners and the recovery community to support a comprehensive response to the issue of substance abuse.

In September, Mayor Walsh hosted a series of events to celebrate National Recovery Month, which highlighted that every day, resilient Americans with substance use disorders summon extraordinary courage and strength, and commit to living healthy and productive lives through recovery. As part of recovery month, Mayor Walsh was a partner in the 10th annual National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day to encourage the public to dispose of expired, unused or unwanted prescription drugs that are prone to abuse and theft.