Rep. Vargas Helps Open Narcan Bulk Purchasing to Nonprofits, Haverhill’s NFI May Benefit

(File photograph.)

As a result of a contracting change in the Municipal Naloxone Bulk Purchasing Trust Fund, nonprofits like Haverhill's NFI may see their money stretch further when it comes to the purchase of Narcan. (File photograph)

Following a week of budget debates on Beacon Hill, Haverhill state Rep. Andy Vargas succeeded in allowing state nonprofits contracted with the Department of Health to purchase Narcan at a reduced rate through the Municipal Naloxone Bulk Purchasing Trust Fund.

Prior to the contracting change, municipalities were the only entities allowed to purchase the life-saving drug at a subsidized rate.

Rep. Andy Vargas (Courtesy photo)

“This small contracting change means all those who are on the front lines of the opioid crisis can have the lifesaving tools they need without having to worry about burdensome costs,” Vargas said. “The cost of Narcan continues to rise, but today we’ve shown the Commonwealth’s commitment to increased access, revival, and recovery.”

Haverhill could see a direct impact on recovery efforts through the legislation passed by Vargas.

According to Kim Boisselle, who assists residents struggling with addiction through NFI’s Structured Outpatient Addiction Program and Haverhill’s HOPE Task Force, twice as much Narcan could be purchased by NFI. As a nonprofit, NFI was previously ineligible for bulk purchasing, and was forced to buy the drug at market price.

“Access to affordable Naloxone is crucial for the survival of individuals who overdose from opioid use to give them a chance at recovery,” Boisselle told WHAV. “Thank you to Rep. Vargas for understanding the barriers faced by nonprofit agencies to give those struggling with this disease the tools they need to access treatment.”

NFI has applied for funding through the Haverhill Community Development Grant program, and would use that money to purchase Narcan, Boisselle said.

In the meantime, the NFI team continues their city services, including overdose follow-ups conducted by outreach social worker Katie Ryan and members of the Haverhill Police Department.

This May, the agency plans to launch what they’re calling a “pizza box campaign,” working with local restaurants to print treatment resource information on takeout containers.

Individuals seeking treatment or other resources may contact Ryan at 978-373-1181 x 146.