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RIZE Massachusetts Contributes $50,000 to Fund That Provides Life-Saving Narcan To First Responders

Donation to depleted naloxone fund will help cities and towns purchase drug and prevent deaths

BOSTON – April 17, 2018 – As part of its mission to substantially reduce opioid-related deaths, RIZE Massachusetts (RIZE) announced today that it will contribute $50,000 to the Municipal Naloxone Bulk Purchasing Program created to reduce the cost to Massachusetts cities and towns of purchasing the opioid overdose reversal drug known as Narcan.  First responders across the Commonwealth now carry and use Narcan to save the lives of people in danger of dying from lethal opioid overdose. The increasing need for the drug is placing a high demand on the discount purchasing program, which has depleted the initial funding, leaving municipalities to now pay 46 to 78 percent more to buy the life-saving drug.

“Broad distribution and access to naloxone is one key strategy of the Commonwealth’s response to the opioid epidemic.  The Municipal Naloxone Bulk Purchasing Program was established to allow communities to purchase this life-saving medication at a discounted rate,” said Marylou Sudders, Secretary of Health and Human Services.   “We are grateful for the generous donation from RIZE and welcome others to consider supporting this program to subsidize the cost of naloxone for cities and towns throughout the state.”

“More people are alive today because first responders are carrying Narcan, and cities and towns should not have to break their budgets to continue making this needed medicine available to treat people in danger of dying,” said RIZE Executive Director Julie Burns.  “RIZE shares Governor Baker’s commitment to preventing opioid-related deaths and ending the most serious public health epidemic of our time. We welcome this opportunity to contribute to the state’s efforts to save lives by increasing the availability of Narcan.”

The importance of naloxone in fighting the opioid crisis is evident.  Emergency medical services response to opioid-related calls and calls that require the use of medication for opioid overdose trend up each year. According to state data, non-fatal overdoses in Massachusetts soared by 200 percent from 2011 to 2015, with the total number during that period topping 65,000.