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71 Mass. communities to share $1.3M drug grant

June 14, 2013

BOSTON (AP) — Dozens of Massachusetts cities and towns are sharing a $1.3 million grant meant to fight drug abuse and overdoses, state health officials announced Friday.

The grants from the Massachusetts Opioid Abuse Prevention Collaborative Program 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 in an effort to prevent the abuse of opioids and reduce the number of hospitalizations and deaths associated with overdoses.

The announcement was made at the Impact Quincy Opioid Conference, which fights drug abuse in Quincy, Braintree, Randolph, Stoughton, and Weymouth. Opioids include heroin and many narcotic prescription painkillers.

“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.”

The award is part of the state Department of Public Health’s comprehensive approach to substance abuse prevention.

The department continues to fund municipalities across the state to implement strategies meant 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,” Acting Commissioner of Public Health Cheryl Bartlett said. “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.”

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