The communities of Melrose, Medford, Malden, Stoneham, Wakefield, and Reading applied as a group and were awarded $100,000 per year for three years, with the possibility of extending the grant to seven years, reads a city press statement. Medford will serve as the lead community, adds the statement.
"This grant will address a problem that is unfortunately still with us," said Mayor Rob Dolan in the statement. "It is a boots-on-the-ground approach to helping those addicts who want to be helped and preventing deaths and permanent injuries from overdoses. It attacks the problem on several fronts and provides our health department, and those of surrounding communities, with strategies that have proven to be effective."
In an email to Melrose Patch, Melrose's Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition Coordinator Jennifer Kelly said, "The funds will be used for all (six) communities to do work regionally — the money is not split between the communities."
"This is a great opportunity to partner with so many organizations for such an important mission," said Melrose Health Director Ruth Clay in the statement. "We will work closely with hospitals, treatment providers, and other community agencies to make these initiatives a success."
What is the Purpose of the Opioid Grant?
According to the statement, the grant has three goals:
- Reduce the number of overdoses
- Improve the management of overdoses when they do occur
- Reduce the amount of misused, abused, and diverted prescription opioids
To achieve the goals, the communities will use six strategies, according to the statement, including:
- Provide free educational materials on overdose prevention to the public, focusing on users and their families as well as treatment providers
- Increase community-based prevention programs using scientifically proven strategies to reduce risk factors
- Give drug users increased access to evidence-based treatment services
- Provide substance abuse treatment providers with information about overdose prevention that they can integrate into their work with clients
- Maintain and expand a pilot program that provides the anti-overdose drug naloxone to friends and family of opioid users
- Implement and expand emergency department intervention and referral to treatment services
For more information or to find out how to get involved, contact Jennifer Kelly, Coordinator of the Melrose Substance Abuse Prevention
Coalition by calling 781-979-4128 or emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.