Mayor Marty Walsh will head a national substance abuse task force

Hillary Clinton praised Mayor Marty Walsh’s leadership on issues of substance abuse last week.
Hillary Clinton praised Mayor Marty Walsh’s leadership on issues of substance abuse last week. –Barry Chin / The Boston Globe

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh has been named the chairman of a new national task force of that focuses on issues of substance abuse, the city of Boston said on Thursday.

The task force, launched by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, will focus on the “devastating impact’’ of substance abuse and addiction on cities.

“With the ongoing opioids crisis, too many individuals and families are all too familiar with the destruction that substance abuse causes in our homes, workplaces and on our streets,’’ Walsh said in a statement. “I look forward to teaming up with Mayors from across the country to make sure recovery services are readily available to those who need it, and develop strategies to overcome this public health crisis.’’

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The announcement comes just a week after leading Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton praised Walsh for being an “open’’ leader on addiction at a Boston event. Walsh, a recovering alcoholic, has said he has been sober for 20 years and still attends Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

Baltimore Mayor and U.S. Conference of Mayors President Stephanie Rawlings-Blake specifically cited that personal history in selecting Walsh for the position.

“Mayor Walsh brings a wealth of personal and professional experience to this critical policy discussion,’’ Rawlings-Blake said in a statement. “We look forward to his leadership on an issue that is vitally important to the success of our cities and the quality-of-life of our residents.’’

Gallery: Boston City Hall through the years

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