Date

2018

Department or Program

Political Science

Primary Wellesley Thesis Advisor

Nancy Scherer

Abstract

This thesis examines the role of the governor in variation amongst state level policy responses to the opioid addiction epidemic in New England. While the order of magnitude of the epidemic is similar across the region, and the states share similar features of their economies, demographics, and a regional identity and history, different policy responses to this devastating public health crisis have emerged. This thesis first examines the science of opioids and the history of how the opioid addiction epidemic began and grew, and details the differences in policy responses across the New England States. Why and how have these differences emerged? I ask what role governors prioritization of the opioid addiction epidemic in state of the state and budget addresses plays in shaping the budget allocation for the agency responsible for substance abuse treatment. I conclude that governor prioritization of the opioid issue has a positive impact on the percentage of the budget allocated to the substance abuse treatment agency, but only for budget addresses.

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