Baker-Polito Administration Awards $6.8 Million for Prevention of Prescription Drug Misuse Among Youth in 16 High Need Communities

BOSTON Governor Charlie Baker and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) today awarded $6.8 million in grants to support Strategic Prevention Framework Partnership for Success 2015 (SPF-PFS) programs for prescription drug misuse prevention activities in 16 Massachusetts communities significantly impacted by opioid overdoses and overdose deaths.

“This support for communities in need is an important resource for fighting opioid misuse and preventing further tragedy,”said Governor Charlie Baker. “I look forward to our ongoing work with the legislature to pursue the tools necessary to curbing this public health crisis.”

“This award is positive news for Massachusetts parents who are raising families in communities where the scourge of opioid addiction has taken its greatest toll,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “These families deserve our full attention as we strive to end opioid misuse across the state.”

The Baker-Polito Administration has implemented numerous reforms aimed at curbing the Commonwealth’s opioid epidemic, including $114 million in this year’s budget for substance abuse prevention, bulk purchasing of Narcan by municipalities and the announcement of a new, vastly improved Prescription Monitoring Program Online System.  Most recently, Governor Baker filed landmark legislation to provide medical personnel with the power to intervene with patients suffering from addiction, control the spread of addictive prescription opioids and increase education about substance use disorder (SUD) for providers and in the community. Over one hundred treatment beds have opened in communities across the Commonwealth, with more expected this winter.  A full update on the Governor’s Opioid Working Group’s progress can be found at: www.mass.gov/statewithoutstigma.

Funding for the SPF-PFS program is provided by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The goal of the program is to implement evidence-based prevention programs, policies, and practices to reduce prescription drug misuse among persons aged 12 to 25 years old in high-need communities.  The grant will provide $1.36 million in annual funding for a total of 5 years to partner programs in Boston, Brockton, Cambridge, Everett, Fall River, Lowell, Lynn, Malden, Medford, New Bedford, Quincy, Revere, Springfield, Taunton, Weymouth, and Worcester. Each community will receive $85,000 per year.

“This grant is an opportunity to provide invaluable resources to the grassroots efforts of our partners fighting this epidemic on the ground,” said Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders. “Working together, we can implement proven strategies to address opioid misuse in ways that make sense for the specific needs of each community.”

As part of the grant program, the DPH Bureau of Substance Abuse Services (BSAS) will work with funded communities to develop a prevention and evaluation plan that meets SPF-PFS requirements; build the implementation and evaluation capacity within these agencies; and select and deploy strategies and interventions that best address prescription drug misuse among young people within each specific community.

“In the world of public health, one thing we know for sure is that prevention works,” said DPH Commissioner Monica Bharel, MD, MPH. “We are delighted to be able to provide these communities with the tools and assistance they need to make a difference for the young people that they serve.”