Like many states, Massachusetts is experiencing a prescription drug and heroin epidemic. Last year, more than 2,000 residents died of an overdose. Overdose deaths now outnumber those due to car accidents. Not only is this a public safety issue – it is a public health issue. The AG’s Office is committed to ending this crisis.
Immediately after taking office, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey announced that combatting this public health crisis would be her top priority, and she established an Opiate Task Force within her office. The Task Force, comprised of health care experts, law enforcement, advocates and public policy experts, is dedicated to tackling opiate and prescription drug abuse using a multi-disciplinary approach that includes enforcement, treatment, prevention and education efforts.
Project Here is an innovative partnership between the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, the GE Foundation, The Herren Project, and Epicenter Experience that will bring new substance use prevention resources to every public middle school in Massachusetts, starting in the Fall of 2017.
Naloxone (commonly known by the brand name Narcan) is a life-saving medication that reverses opioid overdoses. In 2016, first responders administered more than 20,000 doses of naloxone across Massachusetts. Police and fire departments rely heavily on this medication, which they must purchase themselves. In 2015, after reaching a $325,000 settlement with one of the manufacturers of naloxone, Attorney General Healey partnered with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Massachusetts Legislature to create a Narcan Fund for cities and towns, known as the Municipal Naloxone Bulk Purchase Trust Fund. The Fund allows municipalities to purchase naloxone for use by first responders at a heavily discounted rate.
To make a contribution to the Fund, please write a check to: Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Please write “Narcan Fund” in the memo line of the check, and mail the check to:
State Office of Pharmacy
369 East Street
Tewksbury, MA 01876
If you have any questions, please contact our office at (617) 963-2140 or send an email to Catherine.Madden@state.ma.us.
Under state law, funds from public or private sources or from appropriations authorized by the Massachusetts Legislature and specifically designated to be credited to the fund are applied to provide price reductions for municipalities purchasing naloxone through the program and are not subject to further appropriation; monies remaining in the fund at the end of a fiscal year shall not revert to the General Fund.
Utilizing $700,000 from settlements with CVS Pharmacy and Walgreens, the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office (AGO) launched the Youth Opioid Prevention (YOP) grant program. The YOP grant is designed to support school-based prevention education initiatives to address opioid dependence and addiction in Massachusetts. The programs under this grant will run through April 2019.
Following the announcement of the grant program, the AG’s Office received 120 applications totaling nearly $4 million in requested funding from schools, community health centers, municipalities, police departments, and nonprofits.
The organizations receiving grant funding from the AG’s Office are:
Barnstable Public Schools
Monomoy Regional School District
Berkshire District Attorney’s Office
Bristol County District Attorney’s Office
New Bedford Police Department
Norton Police Department
Martha’s Vineyard Public Schools
Beverly Public Schools
City of Haverhill / Haverhill Public Schools
City of Newburyport / Newburyport Public Schools
Essex District Attorney’s Office
Gloucester Public Schools
Marblehead Public Schools
North Andover Public Schools
Salem Public Schools
Franklin County Regional Council of Governments
Agawam Public Schools
Westfield Public Schools
Longmeadow Public Schools
Belchertown Public Schools
Collaborative for Educational Services
Lowell Public Schools
Malden Public Schools
Marlborough School District
Medford Public Schools
Braintree Public Schools
Weymouth Police Department
Brockton Public Schools
Hull Public Schools
Plymouth County District Attorney’s Office
South Shore Charter Public School
Chelsea Public Schools
East Boston Neighborhood Health Center
Peer Health Exchange
St. Mary’s Center for Women & Children
Auburn Public Schools
Narragansett Regional School District and Gardner Public Schools
The Southeast Asian Coalition of Central Massachusetts
Worcester County District Attorney’s Office
Prescribing and Dispensing
- State and Federal Agencies Announce New Coalition to Fight Illegal Opioid Prescribing and Dispensing
- CVS to Strengthen Policies Around Dispensing Opioids
- AG's Office, Department of Public Health Announce Process for First Responders to Purchase Discount Naloxone
- AG Healey Announces $325K Agreement with Naloxone Manufacturer, Dedicates Funds to Help First Responders Statewide Access Life-Saving Drug
- Testimony Before the Joint Committee on the Judiciary on Fentanyl Trafficking, Eyewitness Identification, and Updates to our Wiretap Law (September 2015)
- Fentanyl Legislation (August 2015)
- Law Criminalizing Fentanyl Trafficking Takes Effect Tuesday (Press Release, February 2016)
- Letter to Joint Committee on Mental Health and Substance Abuse on Governor's Proposed Opioid Legislation file size 1MB (November 2015)
The Massachusetts 911 Good Samaritan Law was passed in 2012 in order to encourage people to call 911 during an overdose emergency. The Law protects people who call 911 during an overdose from being charged with possession of a controlled substance.
Do you know someone struggling with addiction? Do you need help? Call the Massachusetts Substance Abuse Information and Education Helpline: 1-800-327-5050 or visit their website. The Helpline provides free and anonymous information for alcohol and other drug use problems. www.helpline-online.com.
If there is a medical emergency, call 911.
The Good Samaritan Law
The Massachusetts Good Samaritan Law encourages people to seek emergency medical assistance for people in distress in order to reduce the chance of harm or death. Since the lives of those who overdose on opioids relies on the help of bystanders, the law has significant potential to help reduce the impact of the opioid epidemic.
The law protects you.
The Massachusetts Good Samaritan Law protects victims and those who call 9-1-1 for help from charge, prosecution, and conviction for possession or use of controlled substances. The Law, Chapter 94C, Section 34A: “Immunity from prosecution under Secs. 34 or 35 for persons seeking medical assistance for self or other experiencing a drug-related overdose” can be found on the Massachusetts Legislature General Laws website.
Posters about the Make the Right Call Campaign and the Good Samaritan Law can be downloaded here
A poster on the Good Samaritan Law can be downloaded here file size 2MB
Massachusetts Substance Abuse Referrals
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, get help by calling Massachusetts Substance Abuse Referrals.
Family and peer support
For local family and peer support, get help by calling Learn2 Cope.
Partnership for Drug-Free Kids
For more information on prescription drugs and opioids, and how to protect your family, go to Partnership for Drug-Free Partnership
Section 35 Helpline Information
The Massachusetts Bar Association has launched a free legal assistance program to help those who are seeking court-ordered inpatient treatment for a family member or friend struggling with opioid addiction.
Massachusetts Health and Human Services
Attorney General's Office