For Immediate Release - June 14, 2013

Patrick Administration Announces $1.3 Million in Funding to Address Opioid Abuse in Massachusetts

Grants will support innovative partnerships among 71 municipalities across the Commonwealth

BOSTON — The Patrick Administration today announced $1.3 million in grant funding to create the Massachusetts Opioid Abuse Prevention Collaborative Program (MOAPC), a groundbreaking initiative which will work to reduce opioid abuse and misuse across the state.

A total of 71 communities will receive funding, which will be dispersed though 13 lead municipalities. The grants are funded through a federal Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant. They will be used to implement policy, practice, systems and environmental changes at the local level to prevent the abuse of opioids and reduce the number of hospitalizations and deaths associated with opioid poisonings. MOAPC is a three-year grant with two options to renew, making it possible for grantees to be funded for up to 7 years. Contracts will begin on July 1, 2013.

"The Collaborative is a groundbreaking next step in our efforts to prevent and reduce the number of opioid related overdoses in Massachusetts," said John Polanowicz, Secretary of Health and Human Services. "These community partnerships are an exciting new addition to our comprehensive approach of prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery for people suffering from substance abuse disorders."

This award will be part of the Department of Public Health’s comprehensive approach to substance abuse prevention, which includes a recently received $3.6 million, 3-year grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration to prevent prescription drug misuse and abuse among persons aged 12 to 25 in high need Massachusetts communities. The Department also continues to fund municipalities across the state to implement strategies to reduce underage drinking.

"This funding will allow cities and towns to create partnerships with their neighbors to address these issues together for the first time," said Acting Commissioner of Public Health, Cheryl Bartlett, who is also the chair of the Interagency Council on Substance Abuse and Prevention. "By joining with each other, communities will be able to empower a broader group of stakeholders to create positive changes at the grass roots level."

"Drug and alcohol abuse affects families in every community," said Representative Jeffrey Sanchez, House Chairman of the Joint Committee on Public Health. "We need to band together to find new ways to help those who are fighting their addictions, and funding community partnerships is a positive step towards fulfilling this shared responsibility."

"These grants are a great opportunity to examine and work to stop opioid misuse across the Commonwealth in a collaborative and collective way. I look forward to seeing positive results across our communities," said Representative Liz Malia, House Chair of the Joint Committee on Mental Health and Substance Abuse.

Today’s announcement was made at the Impact Quincy Opioid Conference hosted by the City of Quincy and the Impact Quincy Coalition in collaboration with Quincy’s funding partners, the towns of Braintree, Randolph, Stoughton, and Weymouth.

"Announcing these awards at this conference is only fitting," said Senator John Keenan, Senate Chairman of the Joint Committee on Public Health. "It reminds us that preventing substance abuse is an ongoing fight for all of us, from the highest levels of government, to the outstanding community level efforts represented here today."

"This new program is going to be enormously helpful in our efforts to stem opioid related abuse in Massachusetts," said Senator Joan Lovely, Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Mental Health and Substance Abuse. "Our municipalities are in critical need of state assistance to combat these drug overdoses, and that’s what this program delivers."

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