Over the past ten years opioid overdoses have increased significantly in Massachusetts. Opioids include heroin and prescription drugs such as oxycodone (oxycontin), fentanyl, hydrocodone, codeine, and methadone. In response to this growing problem, the Department of Public Health is working to reduce the number of overdoses in the Comnmonwealth.
- All first responders in Massachusetts are now permitted by law to carry and administer Naloxone — sometimes referred to as Narcan, an extraordinarily effective opioid overdose reversal tool.
- In addition, DPH now provides direct funding for the purchase of Naloxone to a total of 23 communities in the Commonwealth with the highest rates of fatal opioid overdose over a five year period.
- Naloxone is also now available in select pharmacies without a prescription from a doctor through a “standing order” from the pharmacy medical director — providing greater access to family and friends who fear a loved one might overdose.