The opioid crisis has not gone away. If anything, it's become more deadly.

Carl Alves of PAACA (Positive Action Against Chemical Addiction) joined me this week on Townsquare Sunday to talk about the dangers that still exist with illegal drug use on the SouthCoast.

"In the early 2000s, the crisis was all about overdosing on prescription drugs. The community came together and changed some policies, health care providers did their part, and now the prescription system is better," Alves said.

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"Unfortunately, the cartels have gotten better, too. They've gotten more sophisticated in the development of their drugs and it's all fentanyl now."

Alves said the development of illegal drugs is all chemically driven, and the substances are becoming more addictive because of fentanyl and other chemicals being added to them, creating more health-related challenges.

While addiction is a real issue in New Bedford, Alves said recovery is also real.

"Addiction doesn't have to be a life sentence, but it's not going to be solved with a pill," he said. "It requires support, discipline, and a community and families that when someone is addicted, to recognize it and not be ashamed of it, and do something about it."

Alves said PAACA does its best work in helping people in recovery, and many different options are available. He cited the area's Drug Court Program which opens doors for those in the criminal justice system to get treatment, along with the work being done by Sheriff Paul Heroux and his staff, providing medically assisted treatment at the Bristol County House of Correction. With treatment providers in the area, Alves said there is more access to treatment than ever.

"There is no simple fix," Alves said.  "Short-term treatment is helpful to minimize the crisis, but we need to look more long-term and have more community-based options."

 

Townsquare Sunday is a community affairs program heard every Sunday morning at 6 and 11 on 1420 WBSM and 99.5 FM.

The program highlights individuals and organizations seeking to make Greater New Bedford a better place to live and work.

If you would like your organization featured on Townsquare Sunday, Please e-mail the host at jim.phillips@townsquaremedia.com

Crime Rate Statistics in Southcoast Towns

Here are the current crime rate statistics for these Southcoast Communities.

Annual data is from the Massachusetts Crime Statistics. The number of crimes is a data collection of total arrests, DUI/OUI charges, violent crimes, and hate crimes.

The clearance rate is the number of charged crimes divided by the total number of crimes recorded.

We listed the SouthCoast towns alphabetically.

Gallery Credit: Ariel Dorsey

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