COCCHI CALLS ON MASSACHUSETTS SHERIFFS TO JOIN HIM IN CO-SPONSORING LEGISLATION INCREASING INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR ADDICTION TREATMENT.
Nick Cocchi, Assistant Superintendent of the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department and candidate for Hampden County Sheriff, is calling on Massachusetts’ Sheriffs to join him in co-sponsoring legislation being re-filed by State Senator John Keenan of Quincy, which would increase insurance coverage for substance abuse treatment from 14 to 30 days.
“I know we still have a General Election to win for me to earn the opportunity to serve as our next Sheriff, but I also know it is important to begin now to join the Massachusetts' Sheriffs in battling the terrible Opioid scourge that the Commonwealth is facing. Time is not on our side. I want to be a part of this effort for a solution, now,” said Cocchi.
“I am respectfully suggesting to all of the thirteen Massachusetts Sheriffs that they join me in co-sponsoring this legislation for the upcoming legislative session beginning in January, 2017. It is my intention to fight for passage of this legislation, making the public aware of its importance. If I am elected Sheriff in November, this legislation and working with the Hampden County Legislative delegation for the resources needed by The Hampden County Sheriff’s Departments to support our successful policies and programs will be the major focus of my first official duties outside the Department on Beacon Hill,” Cocchi said.
“The most recent statistics released by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (September 2016) shows that since the year 2000, opioid-related deaths in Massachusetts have increased by 350%. This heartbreaking loss of life is only part of the story”, said Cocchi.
“The Substance Use Disorder epidemic is much larger than just the opioid crisis. It’s not just individuals, but entire families who are dealing with alcohol, cocaine, PCP and other drugs. In my opinion, there can be nothing of more significance than to seek passage of Senate Bill 2432: 'An Act, providing access to full spectrum addiction treatment services', which increases insurance coverage for substance abuse treatment from 14 to 30 days, in the upcoming legislative session,” said Cocchi.
“As someone who has long worked with our addicted population, I know first-hand, that the first 3 to 7 days of addiction treatment is critical. It must be spent getting the addicted individual sufficiently detoxified to the point that their brain is clear enough to start being responsive to the intense counseling needed to begin the long, difficult, process of loosening the grip that these narcotics hold on individuals”, said Cocchi.
“The Commonwealth currently does not have sufficient resources to adequately fund all of the necessary treatment that is needed. Without additional resources, we might just as well put turnstiles on our treatment beds, because once we get someone that is in crisis ‘detoxed’, we need to turn them out of that bed, so that it can be used for the next person in line who may be even more critical,” said Cocchi.
“It has been clinically proven that the longer an addict stays in an intensive treatment program, the greater the chances are of helping them see and ‘believe’ in the possibility of achieving and maintaining their own recovery,” said Cocchi.
“The coverage requirement would result in at $.03-$.05 increase in monthly health insurance premiums, just sixty-cents a year. For less than the cost of a cup of coffee, you could provide real hope for families.” said Cocchi.