Press Conference of End Opioid Abuse in Massachusetts

On March 27, 2014, Governor Deval Patrick declared a public health emergency in Massachusetts in response to the growing opioid addiction epidemic. The Governor directed the Department of Public Health to take several action steps that will combat overdoses, stop the epidemic from getting worse, help those already addicted to recover, and map a long-term solution to ending widespread opiate abuse in the Commonwealth.

  • Universally permit first responders to carry and administer Naloxone (Narcan). Naloxone will also be made widely available through standing order prescription in pharmacies in order to provide greater access to family and friends who fear a loved one might overdose.
  • The Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine voted to require individual prescribers to complete a risk assessment and pain management treatment agreement prior to prescribing any patient hydrocodone-only extended-release medication that is not in abuse-deterrent form. The agreement with each patient must address drug screening, pill counts, safe storage and disposal, and other requirements as appropriate in the prescriber’s judgment.
  • DPH Commissioner Bartlett issued an emergency order requiring prescribers to utilize the Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) prior to prescribing a hydrocodone-only extended release medication that is not in an abuse deterrent formulation.
  • DPH is accelerating the mandatory use of prescription monitoring by physicians and pharmacies to better safeguard against abuse or misuse.
  • The Administration will also dedicate an additional $20 million to increase treatment and recovery services to the general public, to the Department of Corrections and to Sheriffs’ Departments.
  • Re-task the Commonwealth’s Interagency Council on Substance Abuse and Prevention make recommendations in 60 days on further actions that can be taken, including, but not limited to: how to better coordinate services, ensure a full range of treatment regardless of insurance, and how to divert non-violent criminal defendants struggling with addiction into treatment programs.

Report of the Opioid Task Force

Public Health Advisory

Emergency Order Regarding Prescription Monitoring Program

Rescission Order

Press Releases

Latest Statistics for Opioid Overdose


This information is provided by the Department of Public Health.