Vargas Receives Resident Backing for Narcan Bill Included in House Opioid Legislation

Haverhill resident Nate Robertson with Rep. Andy. X. Vargas at the state house. (Courtesy photograph.)

The Massachusetts House of Representatives last week passed an opioid bill, covering the licensing of recovery coaches, making opioid overdose reversal drugs more accessible, protecting harm reduction providers and removing barriers new mothers in recovery face when they give birth.

Rep. Andy X. Vargas, who championed the legislation, won support from Haverhill resident and advocate Nate Robertson.

“Opioid addiction has caused incredible damage to our communities, and I am proud that the Commonwealth has continued our steadfast commitment to dismantling stigma and supporting those struggling with addiction,” Vargas said. The bill still must be approved by the Senate and signed by the governor to become law.

Vargas said the bill’s approach was shaped by a review of what other states were doing to save lives, included providing Narcan upon discharge from treatment facilities. Vargas explained, “With the passage of this bill, upon discharge from a treatment facility, individuals will be provided with two doses of overdose-reversing medication, protecting them at their most vulnerable time.”

“Addiction is a personal issue for me. I’ve lost loved ones to preventable overdoses. I have loved ones in recovery and I’m in recovery myself thanks to an opiate reversal medication. The number of fatal overdoses happening is tragic and unacceptable. Our loved ones deserve a fighting chance at recovery and Massachusetts has a real opportunity to do that by ensuring that anyone in a treatment facility in Massachusetts is discharged with cheap and potentially life-saving medication,” Robertson said in a statement.

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