Statement from Julie Burns, President & CEO of RIZE Massachusetts

June 22, 2023


RIZE Massachusetts, an independent nonprofit foundation solely dedicated to funding and creating solutions to end the overdose crisis, is alarmed by the state’s latest report on overdose deaths that shows a worsening trend of tragic loss and underscores the urgent need to find solutions that will save more lives. When the opioid crisis was designated a national public health emergency in 2017, Massachusetts rallied to improve substance use treatment and access, only to be hit by another public health emergency of global proportions that worsened the problem.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has been declared over, the overdose epidemic persists and grows more deadly in its wake, particularly in communities of color. It’s clear we must explore the systems, structures, and beliefs that perpetuate today’s crisis and make greater investments in our behavioral health system to improve access to treatment. We also need new innovative approaches to overdose prevention and bold policy changes. Families across the Commonwealth are counting on us to act.