Local Communities Receive Naloxone Grant Funding for First Responders

BOSTON – Three local communities will receive state grant funding to help provide the life-saving opioid overdose reversal drug, naloxone, for police and fire departments.

Falmouth, Plymouth and Yarmouth were three of 33 towns and cities in the state to receive a total of $940,000.

The funding helps communities hit the hardest by the opioid epidemic buy naloxone, and cover training costs.

“Our Administration is committed to providing lifesaving resources, like narcan, to our communities to stem the tide of opioid-related overdose deaths in Massachusetts,”said Governor Charlie Baker.

“While much more work remains to be done, the hard work of Massachusetts’ first responders and our comprehensive approach to addressing the opioid epidemic has led to a slight reduction in overdose deaths.”

The First Responder Naloxone grants, which are funded by the Department of Public Health’s (DPH) Bureau of Substance Addiction Services, range from $5,000 to $50,000 based on the population of each city and town.

The latest DPH quarterly report found that opioid-related overdose deaths declined by an estimated 5 percent over the first three months of 2018 compared to the first three months of 2017, according to preliminary data.

The report also found that the total number of estimated and confirmed opioid-related deaths declined 6 percent from 2017 to 2016. However, nonfatal overdoses continue to rise. DPH’s Chapter 55 report found that between 2011 and 2015 nonfatal overdoses increased by about 200 percent.

Since December 2015, the state Office of Pharmacy Services has been making naloxone available to cities and towns at a discounted rate through what is known as the Municipal Naloxone Bulk Purchasing Program.

More than 200 police and fire departments and 45 other municipal customers, including K-12 schools, colleges and universities, state police, and boards of health have made purchases through the program.

Governor Baker has proposed a second major legislative effort to address the opioid crisis that is currently before the Legislature.

The CARE Act, which is currently under review, proposes the creation of a statewide standing order for naloxone, increases access to treatment and recovery services including expanding the use of recovery coaches, and strengthens the state’s opioid education and prevention strategies. 

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