To the editor:
I am not one to normally weigh in about whether the town should or should not hire someone. However, I feel strongly that the social worker/addiction counselor position proposed by Andover Youth Services is a vital one that should be funded in the town budget this year.
As a state, we are facing an opiate epidemic. Addiction does not discriminate — it hits our suburbs and our cities alike — and our young people are particularly susceptible to falling prey to it. Last year alone, we lost two young Andover residents to heroin. The town of Needham has lost three high school students this year to drug overdoses.
This is not only tragic, it is unacceptable. We must find ways to reach kids before they start down the path of drug addiction and abuse, and the inclusion of this job in the town budget is critical to making that happen. I urge the town to fund the position and hire a social worker/addiction counselor as soon as possible so that Andover can stand strong against this terrible epidemic.
State Sen. Barry Finegold