Problems That Hit Home
Happy Wednesday. This week, I want to discuss a serious issue plaguing our local community: opioid abuse and overdose. As of May, the Norfolk County District Attorney's Office reported 58 deaths resulting from overdoses of heroin and other opioids. Two years ago, the county suffered from 63 deaths. In 2014, that number rose to 94. Massachusetts overall suffered from more than 1,000 opioid related deaths in 2014. This opioid addiction problem resulted in the state declaring a public health emergency over a year ago. The death rates are continuing to rise and the addiction is wreaking havoc in the Massachusetts schools.
Unfortunately, young students are not immune from opiate abuse. Doctors are finding that addiction-related hospitalizations are reaching high school and middle school aged children and that opioid abuse upsets all neighborhoods, regardless of socioeconomic status.
In response to this problem, the town of Franklin has assembled the Franklin Community Coalition on Opioid Abuse. The first meeting was held in June and over 100 people attended. The Coalition intends to provide local resources for residents searching for information or help for themselves, family members and friends. Even the Franklin Police Department has provided the community with resources on how to prevent overdoses. The video can be seen here.
I have previously blogged about addiction here, yet the state of emergency continues. From an estate planning perspective, addiction illuminates the importance of signing a Medical Proxy and Power of Attorney for any person over the age of 18. If a medical emergency occurs, parents need to be able to make emergency decisions for their children and have access to their medical information.
If you do know somebody suffering from addiction, you also want to be cautious about leaving them an inheritance outright and without the protection of a trust. Having a trustee oversee funds for those addicted to drugs and alcohol can not only ensure that your loved ones don't blow their money the second they receive it, it can also save their life. Addiction and assets can truly be a deadly combination. Our firm has experience with this type of planning and are happy to speak with you if you would like to learn more.
Lastly, if you do know somebody suffering from addiction, please do not hesitate to seek help. The Franklin Community Coalition on Opioid Abuse is just one of the many task forces that have been established in various communities throughout the state. The next meeting will be held in the Franklin High School Auditorium on August 12th at 7:00 P.M. This meeting is sponsored by S.A.F.E. (Support for Addicts and Families by Empowerment), and will cover Addiction, Stigma, and Recovery. More information can be found here.
Until next time,