BOSTON — Gov. Charlie Baker and the Mass. Department of Public Health (DPH) announced that $700,000 will be awarded to police and fire departments in 40 communities heavily impacted by the Commonwealth’s opioid epidemic, facilitating the purchasing, carrying, and administering of the opioid-overdose-reversal drug naloxone.
“This grant will help save more lives as our administration continues to pursue new and wide-ranging tools to combat the opioid epidemic, including the ability for medical personnel to intervene with those who have overdosed,” Baker said. “We look forward to continuing to work with the Legislature to pass meaningful reforms, and are pleased to support our first responders’ access to immediate, life-saving resources.”
Last year, the administration established a bulk purchasing fund allowing first responders in municipal entities to access the state rate for naloxone purchases and, when available, receive an additional discount. Baker has also filed legislation to provide medical personnel with the power to intervene with patients suffering from addiction, control the spread of addictive prescription opioids, and increase education about substance-use disorder for providers and in the community.
“Today’s announcement, along with the creation of the bulk purchasing fund, will increase the amount of naloxone available in hot-spot communities where it is needed most,” said Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito. “These resources will help ease the costs of medication, enabling our firefighters and police officers to save more lives.”
Grants for $10,000 to $50,000 are being awarded to the following communities: Attleboro, Barnstable, Beverly, Boston, Brockton, Chelsea, Chicopee, Everett, Fall River, Falmouth, Fitchburg, Framingham, Haverhill, Holyoke, Lawrence, Leominster, Lowell, Lynn, Malden, Medford, New Bedford, North Attleboro, Peabody, Pittsfield, Plymouth, Quincy, Revere, Salem, Saugus, Somerville, Springfield, Stoughton, Taunton, Waltham, Wareham, Westfield, Weymouth, Winthrop, Woburn, and Worcester.
“There is no faster and more effective way to reverse an opioid overdose than to administer naloxone,” said state Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders. “It is imperative we do everything we can to counteract the epidemic of opioid addiction by providing as many first responders as possible the opportunity to use this life-saving medication.”