Haverhill First Responders to Share in Nearly $1M of State Narcan Funding

(File photograph)

Haverhill's first responders are set to share in nearly $1 million in funding for Narcan issued by the Department of Health. (File photograph)

The City of Haverhill is among 33 municipalities across the state set to share in $940,000 of funding to access the live-saving overdose reversal drug Narcan, the Baker-Polito Administration said this week.

The first responder grants funded by the Department of Public Health range from $5,000 to $50,000 based on the population of each city and town, Gov. Baker’s office said. Haverhill’s share is $30,000 and was issued to both the police and fire departments.

“Our Administration is committed to providing lifesaving resources, like Narcan, to our communities to stem the tide of opioid-related overdose deaths in Massachusetts,” said Baker in a statement. “While much more work remains to be done, the hard work of Massachusetts’ first responders and our comprehensive approach to addressing the opioid epidemic has led to a slight reduction in overdose deaths.”

A preliminary report from the Department of Public Health confirmed opioid-related overdose deaths declined by an estimated five percent in the first three months of 2018 when compared to the same timeframe in 2017. Nonfatal overdoses continue to rise, jumping by an estimated 200 percent between 2011 and 2015.

The state funding is the latest in Beacon Hill’s efforts to aid the areas hardest hit by the drug epidemic.

Earlier this year, 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 drug at a subsidized rate.

Haverhill’s NFI is among the local agencies poised to benefit from the legislation.

Kim Boisselle, who assists residents struggling with addiction through NFI’s Structured Outpatient Addiction Program and Haverhill’s HOPE Task Force, told WHAV that 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.

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