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Baker-Polito Administration Provides More Naloxone to 10 Community Health Centers

Unveils public information campaign to encourage use of the life-saving drug

BOSTON -- The Baker-Polito Administration will provide $100,000 in naloxone to 10 community health centers to increase public awareness about the important role the overdose reversal drug plays in saving lives.

"The opioid crisis has broken many families across the Commonwealth and our administration remains committed to providing resources to our communities to curb this public health epidemic,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Expanding access to naloxone for health care workers on the front lines of this epidemic is a valuable tool and we are pleased to award these grants to strengthen services at community health centers in Massachusetts.”

The ten community health centers were selected based on their involvement in the GE Foundation’s SUSTAIN (Substance Use Support & Technical Assistance in Communities) initiative, which supports efforts to prevent and treat substance use disorders in local communities. The participating health centers are Boston Healthcare for the Homeless; Brockton Neighborhood Health Center; Caring Health Center, Springfield; Codman Square Health Center, Dorchester; Community Health Center of Cape Cod; DotHouse Health, Dorchester; East Boston Neighborhood Health Center; Lowell Community Health Center; Mattapan Community Health Center; and the South End Community Health Center. Each center will receive 260 doses of naloxone, which can be made available to patients through pharmacies or their primary care providers.

“We are grateful for these life-saving resources as we work to address the opioid crisis and its far-reaching impact in the more than 300 Massachusetts cities and towns served by health centers," said James W. Hunt, Jr., president and CEO of the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers. “Governor Baker’s commitment to raising statewide awareness of and access to Narcan will go far in preventing deaths and spurring recovery for individuals suffering with substance use disorders."

"The more people who administer naloxone the better our chances of reducing the magnitude and severity of harm related to opioid overdose deaths," said Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders. “By making naloxone as widely available as possible, we can save more lives and provide opportunities for treatment and recovery."

Last year, Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) reported more than 2,800 bystander overdose reversals using naloxone. More than 13,000 people were trained and provided naloxone in 2016, pushing the total number of people trained statewide to more than 56,000. DPH's Bureau of Substance Abuse Services, whose naloxone budget was $2.8 million in Fiscal Year 2017, has provided naloxone grants to 32 high-need communities. Since the Commonwealth launched the Municipal Naloxone Bulk Purchasing Program, 140 cities and towns have purchased more than 12,000 doses of naloxone at a significant discount.

"We are committed to doing everything we can to stem the tide of overdose deaths in Massachusetts," said Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel, MD, MPH. "This initiative reflects an exceptional level of inter-governmental coordination and public-private partnership that are vital to successful community engagement in eliminating the opioid crisis."

The new naloxone funding coincides with the debut of an updated statewide public information campaign targeting people who use opioids, as well as their families and friends. The campaign encourages people to carry and use naloxone at the first signs of an overdose and to call 911 for help. The campaign will appear on billboards, trash kiosks, bus shelters, and in convenience stores and public bathrooms, as well on digital and social media platforms. It will run through the end of July.

In May, DPH released its first quarterly opioid report of 2017, which showed an increase in opioid-related overdose deaths attributed to fentanyl and declines in the presence of heroin and prescription opioids in opioid-related deaths.


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