By Wicked Local Cape Cod

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren says legislation she co-sponsored aims to, “push the money down to local communities” and give them time to plan uses for the money in the fight against opioid abuse.

Warren led a “Community Conversation” on the opioid crisis Saturday on Cape Cod four days after a nearly $1 billion bipartisan funding bill was introduced in the Senate to fight the nationwide epidemic over the next 10 years.

Warren told 225 people at Cape Cod Regional Technical High School, “This is not a ‘Washington knows best bill.’ It says local communities know best.” Under the bill, Massachusetts would receive $55 million every year for 10 years, she said, and the Cape would get $2.7 million every year. The House is working on similar bipartisan proposals to move forward by Memorial Day.

The epidemic “touches every family in Massachusetts,” Warren said. “We can’t put this off. This could be the best money we ever spent in America.” The new bill is a follow-up to the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) signed into law in 2016 and includes a host of policy changes, beefs up services to promote recovery and aims to increase the availability of treatment.

The panel addressing the audience also included State Sen. Julian Cyr, D-Truro, Heidi Nelson, CEO of Duffy Health Center, and Lisa Murphy, who founded Parents Supporting Parents on the Cape. The program opened with a video on the effects of the opioid crisis featuring Warren, and each panelist spoke briefly of how their organizations were addressing the issue. For most of the hour and a half session they took many questions and suggestions from the local residents, many of whom had been directly affected by the epidemic.