The Department of Public Health is working to prevent opioid addiction on a number of fronts:
- DPH requires that prescribers use the Massachusetts Prescription Awareness Tool prior to issuing any opioid prescription, and when issuing a benzodiazepine prescription to new patients for the first time. This step helps prescribers prevent opioid addiction as well as identify and intervene with those persons who are at risk for developing substance use disorders.
- In an effort to prepare the next generation of physicians with the necessary tools to curb the nation’s current opioid epidemic, the Baker-Polito Administration, the Massachusetts Medical Society, and the deans of the Commonwealth’s four medical schools — Boston University School of Medicine; Harvard Medical School; Tufts School of Medicine; and the University of Massachusetts Medical School — have partnered in enhancing current medical school core competencies ( Medical Education Core Competencies for the Prevention and Management of Prescription Drug Misuse ). This first-in-the-nation partnership has resulted in the establishment of cross-institutional core competencies for the prevention and management of prescription drug misuse that will reach the approximately 3,000 enrolled medical students across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
- DPH has also increased the number of communities who are funded to work on the primary prevention of opioid abuse and fatal and non-fatal overdose. The MA Opioid Addition Prevention Coalition (MOAPC) grants used evidenced based prevention strategies developed in concert with community members to support healthy drug-free communities. As of today, 96 communities are supported throughout the state through these prevention collaboratives.
- DPH provides a wide range of education and awareness tools to help parents talk to their children about a variety of substance abuse issues, through our Parent Power campaign. Materials are also available through the DPH Clearinghouse.