Massachusetts, like much of the country, is in the midst of a substance abuse crisis. According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, in 2012, 742 Massachusetts residents died due to opioid related overdose deaths. In 2016, that number rose to 1,990. To truly address this epidemic, we need to ensure that we treat it as a public health issue and not as a criminal issue. Instead of jailing nonviolent individuals, we should be working with communities to get people treatment. We also need to review the standards that doctors have in place to prescribe people the pain medication that gets them hooked in the first place. Doing so isn’t just the right thing to do, but in the long run it will save us money as well.