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Opioid Epidemic Can't Be Fixed With Political Band Aids

October 13, 2018


In a Letter to the Editor, resident says Colarusso will not just throw money at the problem, she will roll up her sleeves and get to work.


A Letter to the Editor from Leslie Bertini:


I am writing to you as someone who is in recovery, and passionately cares about the opioid epidemic in our community. I not only care deeply about those caught in the web of addiction, but I personally understand fully what these people are going through, and the fight they have ahead of them to get and remain sober.


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts does not understand this at all, and as a result have no idea on how to help these people. The Commonwealth's idea of helping is to put these people on methadone or suboxone clinics, paid for by free healthcare, they transport them to and from these clinics for free and then to add insult to injury, they give them housing, social security or welfare benefits and food stamps for them to live on. Talk about enabling someone! They not only get them high for free with the clinics, they pay for it. Now I'm not saying there isn't a place for these clinics, there is, but they are suppose to be a step in the process, not a lifestyle. The idea behind these clinics is to get the addict through the physical withdrawal period and then to be weaned off slowly, so they can return to being functioning self reliant members of society. The majority of people who are placed on these clinics remain on them for the rest of their lives, and the Commonwealth picks up the tab. Doing this gives the addict permission not to take any responsibility for their life, and I will tell you firsthand that this does not work.


I have been able to remain sober now for almost eight years, the longest period of sobriety I have ever had. How did I accomplish this, I started taking responsibility for my own recovery, I refused to go on the clinic, quit cold turkey, suffered through the withdrawals so I would remember the pain and never want to go through that again.


Then I began working three jobs to make ends meet. I met Caroline Colarusso at 1 of my 3 jobs, Dunkin Donuts in Stoneham. I told her my story, she listened and validated me, she didn't judge me or criticize me she lifted me up by encouraging me to encourage others. Since then, I've had numerous conversations with her about this particular problem in our society, and what needs to be done and she gets it. She wholeheartedly agrees that we need a more proactive approach to this epidemic. We need more leaders like Caroline who will provide opportunities to those who are struggling, and will not keep them in the cycle of government dependence and low self esteem. Caroline will not just throw money at the problem, she will roll up her sleeves and get to work. She has already done just that, by meeting with people like me, to find out what is working and what is not working. Let's give her the chance to help our communities fight opioids- what we're doing now has become an epic failure.


Caroline has already taken major steps with Judge Feeley situation, she called for his impeachment for his practices of releasing illegal immigrant drug dealers back on the streets . He was just adding to the problem, Caroline stood against him and stood against Massachusetts making sanctuary cities. This type of action is a step towards fixing the problem, and this is what we need in government. We need more candidates who aren't afraid to take a stand for what is right, even if it is unpopular to do so. Caroline Colarusso is about action, she will get to the root of the problem, not just stick a band aid on it and hope for the best, she talks the talk and walks the walk.

Lesli Bertini, North Street Stoneham


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