University of Georgia
Jim Segel, Rappaport Institute Advisory Board Chair
Office of Rep. Jon Santiago
Cory Azmon, Legislative Aide
Description of Fellowship
Robert spent the summer with Representative Jon Santiago’s office at the Massachusetts State House working on developing tools that will inform future opioid legislation. Rep. Santiago represents the 9th Suffolk District, which contains the Mass and Cass area, a population that has been disproportionately affected by the opioid crisis. Robert’s first task was to meet with a variety of stakeholders in this area, ranging from medical providers, directors of governmental service providers, and drug users, and identify barriers to engagement and make policy recommendations that would improve the lives of those struggling with chronic homelessness and addiction as well as alleviate neighborhood burden. Next, Robert created a database of scientific papers and resources on selected interventions to the opioid crisis, making evidence-based policy recommendations based on the literature. Some of the topics included medication-assisted treatment (MAT) in jails and prison, MAT in emergency departments, civil commitments, and safe consumption sites. This database will be a tool that can be made available to all state legislators. In addition to these two research projects, Robert also attended legislative sessions, hearings, neighborhood meetings, and constituent meetings on behalf of the Representative.