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星期五, 11月 11, 2016

AG HEALEY ANNOUNCES STATEWIDE GRANT PROGRAM TO FUND YOUTH OPIOID PREVENTION EFFORTS

AG HEALEY ANNOUNCES STATEWIDE GRANT PROGRAM TO FUND YOUTH OPIOID PREVENTION EFFORTS
$500,000 in Funding Comes from First-in-the-Nation Settlement with CVSPharmacy to Strengthen Policies Around Dispensing Opioids

QUINCY – Utilizing funds from a groundbreaking settlement with the largest pharmacy chain in the country, Attorney General Maura Healey today announced a $500,000 statewide grant program to support school-based prevention initiatives to address opioid dependence and addiction in Massachusetts.  

            “Massachusetts is experiencing an opiate epidemic that has reached unprecedented levels and is claiming lives and impacting communities across our state,” AG Healey said. “This grant money will help fund prevention programs tohelp equip young people with the tools and knowledge they need to make the right choices and understand the dangers of substance use. Through this funding, our hope is that we can prevent one more parent from losing a child, one more sibling from losing a sister or a brother, or one more child from losing a best friend.”

AG Healey was joined today by Norfolk District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey and Quincy Mayor Thomas P. Koch to announce that the application period for the Youth Opioid Prevention Grant is open and discuss the importance of the program. The AG’s Office will be accepting grant applications from entities that propose to implement a sustainable prevention curriculum or prevention programming within a public school or school district in Massachusetts. 
            
“We know from investigating fatal overdoes – 145 in Norfolk County so far this year – that many who are dying today had prescription opiates for sports injuries during their high school years, or otherwise had exposure while young,” District Attorney Morrissey said. “If these grants can stop those seeds of addiction from being sewn in the rising generation, that will help turn back this tide in the long term.”

“Educating our young people about the dangers of addiction must always be the cornerstone of substance abuse policy, and this grant program will be a great tool for communities across the Commonwealth fighting the scourge of opioid addiction,” said Quincy Mayor Koch. “Attorney General Healey stepped to the forefront of this issue the day she took office, and her work gives me great faith that we can beat this epidemic if we continue to work together at all levels of government and in our communities.”   

In Massachusetts, opiate overdoses kill more than five people every day and more than 1,500 people died of a heroin or prescription drug overdose last year.

            Young people are particularly vulnerable to the risks of substance use. Ninety percent of all adults struggling with addiction started using when they were under the age of 18, and 50 percent were under the age of 15. However, studies indicate that effective substance use prevention programming can significantly reduce the risk for addiction among young people.

The Youth Opioid Prevention Grant is open to non-profits, public schools and school districts, community organizations, health providers, youth organizations, municipalities, and law enforcement agencies. The AG’s Office is particularly interested in proposals focused on elementary and middle schools and those that foster community collaboration.
The funding for this program came from an unprecedented settlement with CVS Pharmacy, Inc., which in September agreed to strengthen its policies and procedures around the dispensing of opioids and require its Massachusetts pharmacy staff to check the state’s Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) before filling prescriptions for commonly misused opioids.

This grant program is another way AG Healey is working to address the growing addiction crisis in Massachusetts. The AG’s Office is looking at a host of other practices, from marketing by pharmaceutical companies, to pill diversion and drug trafficking by criminal entities, to coverage for substance abuse treatment by insurance companies. The AG’s Office continues to work on solutions that include eliminating barriers to treatment and supporting prevention and education initiatives across the state.
Earlier this year, the AG’s Office announced the formation of the Interagency Group on Illegal Prescribing, a coalition of state and federal agencies to investigate and prosecute prescribers, pharmacists and others who contribute to the opioid epidemic by illegally prescribing or dispensing pills.
Changing the culture around the prescribing of opioids is also a significant part of the AG’s efforts. In January, AG Healey sent a letter, and joined a coalition of states, in support of the CDC’s guidelines that provide much-needed information to primary care providers across the country about when and how opioids should be prescribed for chronic pain – creating a single, nationwide, evidence-based standard. The new guidelines released by the CDC in March make clear that addictive opioids should not be the initial treatment for chronic pain and should only be used where their benefits outweigh the risks.
Full grant proposals must be delivered electronically through the AGO’s online grant portal by 4 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 16. Questions regarding the RFP may be submitted to AGOgrants@state.ma.us by email until 4 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 9.Entities interested in applying for the Youth Opioid Prevention Grant program can find more information here.