HCN News & Notes

Governor Urges Passage of CARE Act to Fight Opioid Crisis

BOSTON — Gov. Charlie Baker joined members from the addiction treatment and recovery community last week at the Gavin Foundation’s Devine Recovery Center to call on the Legislature to take up the administration’s second significant package to fight the opioid and heroin epidemic, known as the CARE Act. The governor also announced $333,000 in newly available federal funding to support programs that help individuals with substance-use disorder who are involved in the criminal justice system, and increase the number of people trained to use the life-saving overdose-reversal drug naloxone.

“Our administration is committed to aggressively combatting the opioid epidemic and proposed these reforms to take even stronger, more targeted approaches to expand treatment and intervene earlier in substance-use-disorder situations,” Baker said. “With the help of programs like Access to Recovery, we have been able to make significant progress combatting the epidemic, but understand significant work remains, particularly as fentanyl plays a larger role in overdose deaths. We urge the Legislature to pass the CARE Act so we can continue to effectively address one of the greatest public-health crises of our time.”

The CARE Act, which is currently under consideration by the Legislature, calls for increasing access to treatment and recovery services; addressing gaps in care by ensuring three clear pathways to treatment through emergency rooms; and strengthening education and prevention efforts.

“Crises of addiction occur 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and the CARE Act will open an additional pathway to treatment for those who need immediate help,” said Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders. “It is essential that we continue to invest in successful prevention, treatment, and recovery programs throughout the state.”

While opioid-related overdose deaths in Massachusetts declined by 8{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} percent in 2017 compared to 2016, and opioid prescriptions have decreased by 30{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} since 2015, according to the state’s latest quarterly report, the rate of fentanyl present in opioid-related deaths continues to trend upward, reaching 83{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} in 2017.