Mayor McGovern Leads Fact-Finding Mission to Montreal

Mayor McGovern Leads Cambridge Delegation to Observe Montreal’s SIS Facilities

CAMBRIDGE, MA (Tuesday, January 15, 2019)—Mayor Marc McGovern will lead a delegation of Cambridge officials to explore Montreal’s supervised injection service (SIS) locations on Thursday, January 17, and Friday, January 18, 2019. By meeting with SIS operators, city officials, and community leaders, the Mayor hopes to understand Montreal’s experience putting into practice opioid-use related harm reduction strategies, the impact those policies have had on individuals with opioid addiction, how SIS facilities interact with the surrounding neighborhoods, and the provincial-municipal partnerships that support SIS operations.

Attending with the Mayor are several members of the City Manager’s Opioid Working Group, a body charged with advising the City Manager on “policies and practices that address the opioid epidemic in Cambridge,” and include: Work Group Co-chair Dr. Branville Bard, Police Commissioner; Claude Jacob, Chief Public Health Officer; Dr. Mark Albanese, Director of Cambridge Health Alliance’s Adult Psychiatry and Addiction Services; and Dr. Ellie Grossman, Cambridge Health Alliance’s primary care lead for behavioral health integration. Also attending from the Mayor’s Office is Wilford Durbin, Chief of Staff.

Mayor McGovern and members of the Cambridge delegation will visit each of Montreal’s four active SIS sites, including CACTUS Montreal, Spectre de rue, L’Anonyme, and Dopamine. Meetings are also planned with representatives of the Ministry of International Relations, Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante, Montreal Department on Social Development and Diversity, Integrated University Health and Social Services Centres (CIUSSS), local non-profits, and borough representatives.

“I believe service providers and available case studies make a strong argument for why Massachusetts and others should expand the tool box we use to improve outcomes for residents and families caught up in the opioid epidemic,” Mayor McGovern said. “Many have shared with me their intimate stories of loss and recovery—it hits at a personal, family, and community level, and so I think I owe it to them to see for myself how other communities are dealing with the crisis.” Mayor McGovern added, “I am grateful to our friends in Montreal for welcoming Cambridge’s delegation and allowing us to see firsthand the harm reduction strategies cities across Canada are using to mitigate their opioid epidemic, especially while such options remain prohibited at home.”

In addition to calling for the formation of Cambridge’s Opioid Working Group, Mayor McGovern also serves as a member of the Massachusetts Harm Reduction Commission.

"As a health care provider who has spent many years taking care of patients with opioid use disorder, I welcome anything that can help people live longer, provide them with a chance to engage in treatment, and allow them to get their lives back. I think that the data about safe consumption facilities (SCFs) suggests that they accomplish all of these goals, so SCFs deserve a closer look. While we have a lot of treatment options in the City of Cambridge, our experience with this population is that we need more ways to get people to connect with us."  - Dr. Ellie Grossman, Cambridge Health Alliance 

In 2017, there were 12 confirmed opioid-related overdose deaths among residents compared to 27 confirmed overdose deaths among residents in 2016. Twenty-two percent of people in Cambridge transported by ambulance for an opioid-related overdose in 2017 were picked up at a private residence; and 44 percent of people who overdosed in Cambridge were residents, according to ambulance data analyzed by the Cambridge Public Health Department. Data for 2018 is not yet available.

Delegates arrive to Montreal on Wednesday, January 16, with some members returning to Boston on Friday evening, January 18. The Mayor intends to observe the neighborhoods surrounding SIS sites during their active use on Friday night, and will return on Saturday with Commissioner Bard and Chief of Staff Durbin. Meetings were facilitated through the Quebec Government Office in Boston.

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Page was posted on 2/4/2019 11:35 AM
Page was last modified on 6/17/2019 3:30 PM
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