"We need more help in battling the opioid crisis in Fall River." That was the plea made to Mass. Attorney General Maura Healey during a visit to Fall River on Monday afternoon.

According to the Fall River Opioid Task Force, Fall River has seen 41 opioid-related deaths in 2017.

Healey met with a dozen representatives of public safety and social service agencies to learn about what's working and not working in the fight against opioid abuse. The meeting took place at the Boys and Girls club in Fall River.

Some speakers called for more state and federal funding to expand treatment and prevention programs. Michael Bryant of the Peer to Peer recovery project said "we need more prevention, we need treatment, we need more programs for the youth and more places in the community where people can celebrate their recovery." Others cited the need for programs in schools.

Jim Phillips/Townsquare Media
Jim Phillips/Townsquare Media

The Attorney General says her office has provided funding for prevention programs, but more needs to be done. "We need a whole lot more help from the Federal government in a much more systemic way for this fight," said Healey.

Healey says the opioid crisis is a top priority for her, and meetings like the one Monday help her understand what communities in Massachusetts are facing. She's also trying to determine those who may be criminally responsible. " I'm working very closely with other state AG's throughout the country on an intense investigation into opioid manufacturers and distributors and our goal there is to get answers and get to the bottom of this."

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