On Tuesday, September 27, Governor Charlie Baker met with over 200 Rotarians from across Massachusetts. The purpose of the meeting was for the Governor to enlist the support of all Massachusetts Rotary Clubs to get involved with two key issues: Homelessness and the Opioid abuse epidemic in our state.  The Rotary Club of Newton was one of five clubs that sponsored the meeting, and was prominently featured at the event.
Most of the discussion involved the opioid issue, which is claiming between 4 and 5 lives in our state every day. The Governor discussed his four phase plan: communication, prevention, treatment and recovery. Of those four phases, he is relying on Rotary to take a lead role in communication. He sees a great opportunity for the 120+ Rotary clubs in Massachusetts to develop plans on a local and statewide level to communicate the proper use of opioids, the danger signs of addiction, protection and safety of prescription pain medications, how to properly discard unused medication and how to seek emergency help for an overdose victim.
Rotary clubs from across the state are ahead of the curve on this issue.  Many Rotarians shared stories about how opioid abuse has affected their own lives. The Governor was impressed with the level of knowledge and involvement from Rotarians on the issue, and their willingness to get deeply involved ito eradicate the disease of addiction. Many Rotarians stated that they see opioid abuse and heroin addiction as "Rotary's next polio".
Past District Governor Jim Fusco presented the Governor with a Rotary pin, designating him an "Honorary Rotarian".  Jim also gave the Governor a directory of Massachusetts Rotary Clubs and their members. The meeting was held at the Doubletree Hotel in Bedford, MA and the room was filled to capacity. Many thanks to John Peterson of the Bedford MA Rotary Club for putting this meeting together, which took over a year of planning and communicating with the Governor's office.
Pictured L-R: Past District Governor Jim Fusco, Acton-Boxborough Rotary member Gino Frattalone and Governor Baker