Like many states, Massachusetts is experiencing a prescription drug and heroin epidemic. In 2014 alone, more than 1,200 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.
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