By Sue Ellen Woodcock
It’s been no secret that Revere and the area have been battling the disease of opioid addiction and Monday night one city councillor, in an attempt to create more beds to treat addicts, suggested using the McKinley School.
Councillor George Rotondo made a motion to discuss the feasibility of turning the old McKinley School into a regional adult and adolescent addiction recovery treatment center and addiction resource facility.
“There are no beds for treatment in a five mile radius of here,” Rotondo said. “There are well over 500 people addicted in Revere.”
Moved to tears, Rotondo choked up talking about the opioid crisis and the loss of his aunt to the disease.
“This is very personal to me,” Rotondo said. “The conversation has to start.”
Councillor Steven Morabito said the issue hits home for a lot of people and he noted that Revere is number two in the state for heroin overdoses.
The mayor has called for the first opioid working group to meet next Tuesday afternoon. He has asked RevereCARES to work with the city’s Department of Healthy Community Initiatives to create a common agenda.
“I am for expanded outreach and support of the opioid epidemic. I personally feel it’s the number one issue facing Revere, and we need to continue to fight it in our own neighborhoods and make any real efforts to help face this crisis,” said Ward 4 Councillor Patrick Keefe. “However, the thought or consideration for it to go into a city-owned property across the street from a school and in the middle of a densely populated residential neighborhood isn’t feasible and would not ever get done.”
Council President Jessica Giannino said she has been to wakes for young and old who have had an opioid issue.
“We do have some of the best hospitals in a five-miles radius,” she said.
“We are discussing it as a community,” Keefe said. “Our fire department was one of the first in the state to use Narcan. We should have started the conversation 12 years ago and we just started two years ago.”
Rotondo’s motion was sent to the council’s Public Safety Committee for discussion.