The Enterprise: Baker announces $1 million in Narcan grants, $45,000 to Brockton

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, Mayor Bill Carpenter, and police, fire and ambulance employees gathered in Brockton to announce grants for 33 communities around the state to buy the overdose-reversing drug naloxone. Brockton received $45,000. The First Responder Naloxone Grants, which are funded by the Department of Public Health’s Bureau of Substance Addiction Services, range from $5,000 to $50,000 based on the population of each city and town. In total, Baker announced nearly $1 million in funding to help first responders in the communities hit hardest by the opioid epidemic.

BROCKTON – Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker came to Brockton on Thursday to push for his opioid legislation and to announce nearly $1 million in grants to 33 communities to save people from dying of an overdose.

“You can’t get somebody into treatment if you can’t save their life,” said Baker, during the announcement at the Gandara Center in Brockton. “That’s what today’s announcement is about.”

Baker, Mayor Bill Carpenter, and police, fire and ambulance employees gathered at The Champion Plan office at the non-profit Gandara Center to announce $940,000 in funding for 33 communities around the state to buy the overdose-reversing drug naloxone. The drug is commonly known under its brand name, Narcan. Brockton is receiving up to $45,000.

The Baker administration said it was providing the First Responder Naloxone Grants, funded by the Department of Public Health’s Bureau of Substance Addiction Services, to communities that are hardest hit by the opioid epidemic. The level of funding granted to those 33 communities is being determined by population. Quincy will also receive up to $45,000, along with New Bedford. Fall River is receiving up to $40,000. Taunton is receiving up to $25,000.

“We need to continue to do everything we can on the ground to ensure that, when people do overdose, those who are there first, who are more often than not our members of our first responder community, have access to the tools and the equipment that they need to make sure they can save a life,” Baker said.

In 2017, there were 759 confirmed overdose incidents in Brockton, according to Carpenter. Life-saving naloxone was used in 447 overdose incidents during that year, Carpenter said.

The Brockton mayor said that in many cases, those who survive and overdose after being administered naloxone in the city end up in The Champion Plan. Launched in February 2016, The Champion Plan is a police-assisted addiction recovery program, which brings heroin addicts and others suffering from substance abuse from the police station to the Gandara Center, in order to receive support and help accessing recovery services.

Baker comes to Brockton for naloxone grants
“One thing we’ve seen here with The Champion Plan is that many of those folks, who in the last four years whose lives have been saved with naloxone, have made it here to treatment, and many of them are living in recovery today,” said Carpenter, thanking the Baker administration for its support. “We never give up.”

Carpenter said that just because the city is trying to save the lives of drug addicts, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t aggressively going after the dealers.

“Our approach to this opioid crisis from day one was to attack from the supply and demand side,” the Brockton mayor said. “We are still equally committed to getting drug dealers off the streets of our city.”


Baker also spent time advocating for his CARE Act, which he put before the Legislature last fall, with the goal of improving access to treatment, preventing opioid misuse and expanding opioid addiction education. Baker said this follows up on the opioid legislation he passed three years ago.

“We still have a very long way to go to deal with this addiction crisis and this opioid epidemic,” Baker said. ”(The CARE Act) does a number of things to build on the success of our original opioid legislation.”

Baker highlighted how the CARE act creates a certified credential program for “recovery coaches” in Massachusetts, making it a professional standard for those who work supporting people battling drug and alcohol addiction.

Baker also spoke about how the bill would advance the use of “blister packs,” which are standardized, prepackaged doses of painkillers, meant to reduce the likelihood of overprescribing.

“I’m one of these people who thinks that we ended up in such a terrible place to begin with because people were over-prescribing ... or under-appreciating the addictive consequences of giving somebody 20 or 30 days worth supply of this stuff,” Baker said. “But I think part of the reason they did that is there was no vehicle to give someone maybe the two or three pills they needed, and no more, during the original incident. ... This would make possible to put together a group to establish a blister pack for short-term pain situations.”

Health & Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders said she was “thrilled” to be back in Brockton, and said that the naloxone being purchased with the state grant-funding will be “much cheaper than the retail price.” It’s $40 for a two-pack of doses, Sudders said.

“It’s immediately available to you,” said Sudders, speaking at the press conference, attended by police and fire chiefs from communities including Taunton and Fall River. “Only one of the fire chiefs actually put his hat out to put the money in.”

Sudders agreed with Baker and Carpenter about the value of naloxone, which the state has been buying in bulk through a program established in 2015, after a public health emergency over opioid addiction was declared in the state during the previous year.

Champion Plan recovery coach Andrew Ledoux also spoke during the press conference about his experience with addiction, the death of his 22-year-old brother due to an overdose in 2010, and how he became a recovery coach after going through rehab. Ledoux said he became a recovery coach by attending a recovery coach academy in Quincy.

“My passion is to work with individuals who suffer,” Ledoux said. “I can confidently say that’s why I was put on this earth. It’s my purpose. It’s my passion.”

Source: http://www.enterprisenews.com/news/20180628/baker-announces-1-million-in-narcan-grants-45000-to-brockton

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