State briefs: Sexual harassment complaints rise

Monday, February 19, 2018
Sexual harassment complaints rise

BOSTON — Sexual harassment complaints are on the rise in Massachusetts, and the head of the commission that investigates them says it’s a direct result of the #MeToo movement.

The Boston Herald reports that the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination says it received 54 sexual harassment complaints from Jan. 1 to Feb. 16, triple the 18 it received during the same period in 2017. That’s more than one per day.

The commission investigates and prosecutes discrimination complaints, and also offers training.

Sunila Thomas George, the commission’s chairwoman, says they expect a record-breaking year, with months and months of higher numbers.

The commission is seeking a $500,000 increase in its budget to bring in more workers, and last week received a $250,000 increase to hire staff when Gov. Charlie Baker signed a supplemental budget.

Lowell officials warn of 20 ODs in 3 days

LOWELL — Lowell officials say there has been a spike of opioid overdoses in the city: 20 overdoses in three days.

Fire Chief Jeff Winward tells the Lowell Sun that the only reason none of the overdoses since Friday were fatal is because first responders were able to get there to administer the opioid antidote Narcan in time.

Officials are worried that the spike is due to a deadly batch of heroin or fentanyl in the area.

Winward is asking people not to use illegal drugs, but says if they do, to have Narcan handy. He’s also asking anyone who witnesses an overdose to call 911 right away.