Health and Wellness, State House News

MA Receives Nearly $12 Million in Federal Funding to Fight Opioid Epidemic

Massachusetts has received a federal grant totaling nearly $12 million to bolster its public health response to the opioid epidemic, particularly for outpatient opioid treatment, recovery services and expanded community overdose prevention programs.

“Our administration strongly supported the 21st Century Cures Act as an effort to advance Massachusetts’ leadership in biomedical innovation and expedite new ways to treat disease and addiction,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “We are grateful for the opportunity to use these funds for prevention and treatment activities to address the opioid crisis that has devastated families in every corner of Massachusetts.”

The grant, from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), is the first round of annual funding authorized under the 21st Century Cures Act which was signed into law late last year. The funds will support an array of statewide prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery activities managed by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s (DPH) Bureau of Substance Abuse Services.

“This Administration is intensely focused on ending this epidemic, which has claimed far too many lives across our Commonwealth,” said Massachusetts Secretary of Health and Human Services, Marylou Sudders. “This new grant enables us to continue the fight and expand successful prevention, treatment and recovery programs throughout the state.”

The majority of the $11.7 million in funding will be used to increase outpatient opioid treatment and recovery services and expand community overdose prevention programs. The funding will also support new programs to promote treatment and recovery for at-risk populations, including pregnant and post-partum women and correctional inmates scheduled for release. The groundbreaking Chapter 55 Report, released last year, found that the risk of opioid-related death for individuals following release from incarceration is 50 times greater than for the general public.

“This funding comes at a critical time and supports our comprehensive response to this deadly epidemic,” said DPH Commissioner Monica Bharel, MD, MPH. “Investing in prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery saves lives and this funding helps us in each of those areas.”

Key Components of the State Targeted Response to the Opioid Crisis Grant:

Expansion of Overdose Prevention Initiatives

– Expansion of the Overdose Education and Naloxone Distribution (OEND) program in communities with a significant number of opioid overdoses

– Enhance, expand and evaluate community first responder initiatives to provide follow-up, in-person, outreach and support services after 911 calls for an overdose

– Overdose prevention training and technical assistance for health and human services providers throughout Massachusetts

– Improving access to naloxone at pharmacies throughout the state

Expansion of Treatment and Recovery Support Programs

– Implement an Opioid Access to Recovery (ATR) program focused on individuals affected by opioid addiction in the cities of Boston and Springfield, and in two additional cities that will be determined following a competitive procurement process.

– Expansion of Office Based Opioid Treatment (OBOT) to at least seven new community-based sites

– Improving re-entry treatment and recovery support services for correctional inmates, including access to pre-release Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT), treatment and recovery planning, and post-release linkages to services and recovery support and case management

– New peer-support programming to assist pregnant, post-partum and parenting women with their recovery

To find out more about the opioid epidemic in Massachusetts, and how to get help for substance use disorders, visit www.mass.gov/stopaddiction or contact the Massachusetts Substance Abuse Helpline at 800-327-5050

– Submitted by Governor Baker’s office

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