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Mass., Worcester opioid programs get $11.7M

May 16, 2018
Photo | State House News Service
Photo | State House News Service
Gov. Charlie Baker

Massachusetts is getting another public funding boost to combat the opioid epidemic, this time in the form of an $11.7 million federal grant.

The grant, from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, is the second round of funding authorized by the 21st Century Cures Act, which became law in December 2016. The funding, announced last week, brings Massachusetts' two-year total received from the grant to $23.8 million.

The funds will increase overdose prevention initiatives and support treatment and recovery programs.

The Opioid Access to Recovery program - which focuses on addiction treatment in Worcester, Boston, Springfield and New Bedford - will receive assistance via the grant.

There were 13,960 opioid-related overdose deaths between 2000 and 2016, with the number steadily climbing each year from 379 to 2,190, according to the state Department of Public Health,.

Worcester County ranks as the fourth hardest-hit county out of the state's 14 counties, registering 1,684 overdose deaths over that time period.

In a statement announcing the grant, Gov. Charlie Baker said the state is one of the only in the nation to begin seeing a slight decrease in opioid-related deaths, but said there is more work to be done.

"The opioid and heroin epidemic have led to heartbreaking addiction and losses for too many families in the Commonwealth, and this critical funding will increase support for important services like recovery coaches and medication-assisted treatment," he said.