Friedman visits Woburn NeuroMetrix facility Press Release

WOBURN – On December 18, Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington) visited NeuroMetrix, a company in Woburn that develops wearable medical technology and point-of-care diagnostics to help patients and physicians better manage chronic pain, nerve disorders, and associated sleep disturbances. NeuroMetrix is the manufacturer of Quell, an FDA-approved, over-the-counter weareable therapeutic device for chronic pain.

“I was pleased to visit NeuroMetrix in Woburn and learn about the technology currently being manufactured to serve as a means to treat chronic pain without a prescription,” said Friedman, co-chair of the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery. “As we continue to address the over-prescription of opioids in our state, it is important that we look for additional ways for chronic pain patients to get the treatment that they need, and products like Quell are an interesting and innovative alternative.”

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Massachusetts Senate Passes Bill to Support First Responders Press Release

BOSTON – On December 13, the Massachusetts Senate passed legislation to ensure confidentiality for first responders when participating in peer support services following critical incidents. The bill, which had already passed the Senate unanimously earlier this year, returned to the Chamber after an amendment was offered by the House of Representatives.

“Our first responders can often experience high levels of stress, caused by the dangerous circumstances they can experience while doing their job,” said Senator Cindy Friedman (D-Arlington). “This bill will help our firefighters, law enforcement officers, and paramedics get confidential access to mental health services that they need without fear of stigma. I’m grateful that my colleagues have made it a priority to put vital protections in place for the individuals who protect us every day.”

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Friedman Backs Bill To Extend Unemployment Benefits Burlington Patch

On Monday, December 3, Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington) voiced her strong support for the nearly 1,250 Massachusetts workers and their families that have been impacted by the National Grid lockout. In a mass email to constituents, Friedman said she has been in regular contact with National Grid and the United Steel Workers Unions regarding the ongoing contract negotiations and remains “troubled that National Grid has been unable to put forward an agreeable contract, and am frustrated by reports of continuous safety violations on gas lines.”

“I fear that National Grid is using the expiring unemployment benefits to unjustly improve their bargaining position, thus preventing the negotiation of a fair contract,” Friedman said. “By preventing a trained and qualified workforce from returning to work, National Grid has placed citizens across the Commonwealth who rely on this public utility at risk. That’s why I believe it is appropriate for the state to intervene on behalf of the locked out workers, and I intend to support these pieces of legislation to ensure that a fair contract can be negotiated.”

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An update on National Grid and protecting locked out workers A message from Senator Cindy Friedman

Over the last few weeks, I have heard regularly from many of you regarding your concerns with National Grid’s lockout and the impact it has had on over 1,250 Massachusetts workers and their families. I wanted to provide you an update and let you know that I have been in regular contact with National Grid and the United Steel Workers Unions regarding the ongoing contract negotiations. I remain troubled that National Grid has been unable to put forward an agreeable contract, and am frustrated by reports of continuous safety violations on gas lines. As the cold winter months approach, it is especially imperative that the locked out workers be able to return to work.

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Friedman named Legislator of the Year and receives honorable Mitch Snyder Award Press Release

BOSTON – Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington) was recently named Legislator of the Year by the Massachusetts Psychological Association (MPA) for her work on behalf of those with mental illness, substance use disorder and behavioral health issues. In addition, Friedman was presented with the 2018 Mitch Snyder Award from the First Church Shelter of Cambridge for her efforts on the comprehensive opioid treatment bill that was signed into law this summer.

“As we continue to address the opioid crisis in Massachusetts, it is imperative that we strive each day to ensure that every individual who is in need of mental health and substance use care has access to effective treatment and a real path to recovery,” said Senator Friedman, co-chair of the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use, and Recovery. “Moving forward, I am wholeheartedly committed to doing everything I can to help save more lives and improve our system of care for all. Thank you to the Mass. Psychological Association and First Church for recognizing my work and for striving each and every day to better the lives of those most vulnerable in our Commonwealth.”

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Sen. Friedman continues fight against opioid crisis Billerica Minuteman

After playing a major role in spearheading opioid legislation that was signed into law this summer, Sen. Cindy Friedman, D-Arlington, is working in collaboration with several health care professionals, law enforcement officers, elected officials and others to explore more ways to decrease opioid-related overdose deaths across Massachusetts.

“I’m proud of the work we did on the opioid bill, but our work did not end when the bill was passed into law,” said Friedman, who co-chairs the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery. “This epidemic continues to impact residents throughout the commonwealth, so it is critically important that we find more ways to reduce harm and save lives. I’m eager to serve on these commissions, collaborate with expert stakeholders and analyze best practices for our ongoing fight against this epidemic.”

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Judge’s injunction would allow inmate to receive methadone treatment MassLive

In a closely watched case involving addiction treatment for prisoners, a federal judge on Monday granted a preliminary injunction that requires Essex County officials to provide a soon-to-be-incarcerated Ipswich man with access to physician-prescribed methadone treatment. In her ruling on Monday, U.S. District Court Judge Denise Casper said that in weighing Geoffrey Pesce’s request for relief, the court considered the likelihood that his case would succeed and whether relief was in the public interest. The judge concluded that Pesce “will be irreparably harmed if denied methadone treatment while incarcerated.”

A law signed in August by Gov. Charlie Baker will bring medication-assisted treatment to new institutions around the state, introducing it to Department of Correction prisoners, offering it to lower-level offenders in five counties, and mandating that emergency rooms and involuntary commitment facilities can provide it. Medication-assisted treatment can include methadone, which helps stave off the effects of withdrawal, and Vivitrol, which helps prevent relapse.

“For the houses of correction there will be five pilots for continuing treatment, for people who come in with a valid prescription or under medical care,” Sen. Cindy Friedman, the Senate chairwoman of the Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Prevention, said when the bill was agreed upon.

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Statement in support of climate change initiatives

I have always been supportive of policy initiatives that seek to address climate change and protect our environment. After reading the recent New York Times report outlining the future of our environment and the impact that rising food shortages, wildfires and dying coral reefs will have on our livelihood by the year 2040, it is even more apparent just how serious the threat of climate change is. If we don’t act now, we will put our children and grandchildren in serious danger. We must take real action with a sense of urgency so that we can build a sustainable future for generations to come. The federal government may fail to address, or even acknowledge, this threat to society, but Massachusetts will not. No matter what happens, we will continue to lead on clean energy efficiency and pass commonsense measures that keep our state moving forward. This session, I was proud to join my colleagues in supporting the Clean Energy Future bill that passed the Legislature. The bill will increase the use of renewable energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and create jobs in the green economy. As state Senator, I will continue to remain firm in my commitment to creating a cleaner future for all and advocate for legislation that will protect our planet and create a healthier environment for everyone. Our lives depend on it.

Student loan repayment would help strengthen HS workforce Op-Ed by Senator Cindy Friedman

Human service workers provide critical support to nearly one-in-ten Massachusetts residents, yet the industry continues to face enormous difficulties recruiting and retaining staff due to low wages and immense student loan debt.

These workers care for some of the most vulnerable members of our communities – the elderly, disabled and individuals suffering from mental illness and substance use disorder – who require assistance in daily living situations.

Social workers, psychiatrists, therapists, counselors and numerous other professions all fall under the human service worker umbrella. This diverse coalition of professionals is often required to provide the kind of holistic treatment and care needed by many of the most vulnerable members of our communities.

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