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 has implemented a number of projects to reduce the number of overdoses. (More information about Drug Overdoses and Poisoning)

Overdose Education and Naloxone Distribution Program

Naloxone is an opioid antagonist that blocks the effects of opioids such as heroin, oxycodone, hydrocodone, fentanyl, codeine, and methadone. In response to the increasing number of opioid-related fatal overdoses in Massachusetts in the past decade, the Department of Public Health is sponsoring a pilot program that is distributing intra-nasal naloxone (Narcan©), along with opioid overdose prevention education, to opioid users and to trusted people in their lives such as family, friends, and staff of human services programs.

Emergency responders including paramedics and emergency room physicians have been using naloxone since the 1970's to revive people who are experiencing an opioid overdose. Many programs nationally, and now here in Massachusetts have been making this life-saving medication available to people who are most likely to witness an overdose.

For inquiries related to the new state regulations allowing first responder administration of intra-nasal naloxone and for those communities that would like to request medical oversight provided by the Department of Public Health, please contact Sarah Ruiz by phone (617) 624-5136 or email to Questions.bsas@state.ma.us

Massachusetts Opioid Abuse Prevention Collaborative 

The purpose of the Massachusetts Overdose Prevention Collaborative Grant Program is to implement local policy, practice, systems and environmental change to prevent the use/abuse of opioids, prevent/reduce fatal and non-fatal opioid overdoses, and increase both the number and capacity of municipalities across the Commonwealth addressing these issues. Strategies and interventions must be consistent with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF) model, consistent with any available evidence-based practices or local best practices such as those developed during the previous SPF State Incentive Grant (SIG) - MassCALL2 Opioid Overdose Prevention initiative, and approved by the Bureau of Substance Abuse Services (BSAS).

Additionally, this Program seeks to provide financial support for groups of municipalities to enter into formal, long term agreements to share resources and coordinate activities in order to increase the scope of this work and capacity of municipalities to address these issues among their combined populations.  This program will also emphasize the integration of SAMHSA’s SPF model into overall prevention systems, to ensure a consistent data-driven planning process across the Commonwealth, focused on implementing effective and sustainable strategies and interventions.

The Massachusetts Overdose Prevention Collaborative Grant Program is funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) to address the issue of opioid use and abuse, and fatal and non-fatal opioid overdoses in Massachusetts.

Free Educational Materials

Educational materials on Opioid Overdose Prevention are available for free from the Massachusetts Health Promotion Clearinghouse: www.maclearinghouse.org

  • Four Tales of Overdose Survival: Rescues from Near-Fatal Encounters with Heroin, OxyContin, and Other Opiates novella - catalog #SA1069   RTF rtf format of opiod-overdose-novella-transcript.rtf
  • "Know the Signs of Overdose" fold out wallet card - catalog #SA1067
  • Conozca los signos de una sobredosis  pdf format of Conozca los signos de una sobredosis
rtf format of                             Conozca los signos de una sobredosis
    "An overdose is a medical emergency" magnet - catalog #SA1068
  • "Opioid Analgesics and Stimulant Medications: A Clinician Guide to Prevent Misuse" - catalog #SA1038

This information is provided by the Bureau of Substance Abuse Services within the Department of Public Health.