HCN News & Notes

State Provides More Naloxone to 10 Community Health Centers

BOSTON — The Baker-Polito administration announced it is providing $100,000 in naloxone, also known by its brand name Narcan, to 10 community health centers as part of increasing public awareness about the important role of the overdose-reversal drug 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 Gov. Charlie Baker. “Expanding access to naloxone for healthcare 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 10 community health centers, selected because of their involvement in the GE Foundation’s SUSTAIN (Substance Use Support & Technical Assistance in Communities) initiative that support efforts to prevent and treat substance-use disorders in local communities, are Boston Healthcare for the Homeless; Brockton Health Center; Caring Health Center in Springfield; Codman Square Health Center; Community Health Center of Cape Cod; Dorchester House; East Boston Neighborhood Health Center; Lowell Community Health Center; Mattapan Health Center; and the South End Health Center. Each will receive 260 doses of naloxone available to patients through their pharmacies or through their primary-care providers.

“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, the state 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 Dr. Monica Bharel. “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.”