Massachusetts is giving $700,000 to first responders in 40 communities to equip themselves with an opioid overdose reversal drug.
Police and fire in Pittsfield, Holyoke and Springfield are among those across the state receiving grants totaling $10,000 to $50,000 to buy and administer naloxone -- also known as Narcan -- that is given to counteract an opioid overdose. In 2015, Massachusetts set up a bulk purchasing fund allowing first responders to buy one dose of the drug for $20. Some communities were paying more than $65, according to state Attorney General Maura Healey.
“Across the state we continue to lose five people a day to this crisis and dozens more overdosing,” said Healy in a December 2015 interview with WAMC.
The grant amounts were based on the municipality's population. Communities with an annual average of at least four unintended overdose deaths between 2009 and 2013 and an annual rate of at least six per 100,000 were able to apply for a grant.