The City Council will consider joining a lawsuit against opioid wholesalers to recoup some of the cost the city has incurred combating the drug epidemic.
The law firm Levin, Papantonio, Thomas, Mitchell, Rafferty & Proctor is taking on major drug manufacturers and distributors for fueling the illicit opioid market. The firm isn't asking for a city contribution for the case but is rather working for 25 percent of any settlement.
The topic of addiction was identified as one that residents wanted to address during the Coalition's Needs Assessment Forum in September, leading to the conversation with Bianchi and Frank Busener, a reintegration specialist, in November and the screening of "Voices for Recovery: Building a Recovery Community" at the December forum.
Northern Berkshire has been knitting together a wide array of agencies and organizations to combat an opioid epidemic that's devastated communities. Its leaders, including Mayor Richard Alcombright, have played a prominent role in working groups both regionally and statewide addressing addiction and recovery.
Tapestry's new syringe access program opened in February on West Main Street.
The office is holding an open house for the community from 4 to 6 p.m. on Tuesday to answer questions and show how the program works.
The decision whether or not to authorize the state to fund a needle exchange program in the city should come next week.
The Board of Health is the authority needed to authorize the program and is expected to take up the topic next Wednesday. Tapestry Health is looking to open one through funding from the state Department of Health to combat the spread of infectious diseases, similar to the one opening in North Adams in the coming months.
The new center at Berkshire Medical Center is a "step down" level of care for those who just went through detoxification. Instead of being waitlisted at out-patient services or released back home, those struggling with addiction can now stay up to 30 days in the new unit to continue fighting the disease.
The City Council on Tuesday approved 7-1 a citizens' petition calling on Berkshire Health Systems to open inpatient beds for detoxification and substance abuse recovery.
The vote came after more than an hour of discussion and debate and numerous comments from the public, including assertions that the council was dithering over what the community wanted.