Katie Kinne

Baker announces $27M initiative around substance abuse

Katie Kinne
Baker announces $27M initiative around substance abuse

Source: Boston Business Journal By: Jessica Bartlett

Gov. Charlie Baker has announced a $27 million initiative to curb the state’s problem around opioid addiction.
In a report released Monday and compiled by the 18-member working group established by Baker in February, the governor suggested a comprehensive 65-initiative plan that stretches from prevention to intervention to treatment to recovery services

The funding will come from a variety of sources in the fiscal 2016 budget, including new state funds, MassHealth and a reprioritization of existing state and federal grant funds.
“The solution to eradicating opioids is not a one-size-fits-all approach, and will require all of us to rethink the way we treat addiction,” Baker said in a statement. “Today’s announcements are a first step and we will aggressively pursue reforms to save lives.”
Since 2004, more than 6,600 members of our communities have died, the press release said. In 2015 alone, the Department of Public Health said there were over 1,000 estimated unintentional opioid related deaths, representing a significant increase from the estimated 967 deaths in 2014. The number of opioid-related overdose deaths was nearly triple the amount of motor vehicle-related injuries recorded in 2013.
The solutions track along four main areas – preventing addiction through a variety of education initiatives, track opioid usage through the Prescription Monitoring Program and other reports while making naloxone more affordable, add treatment beds and services, and broaden access to treatment services.
The report is an exciting step for members of the treatment community, such as Vic DiGravio, president of advocacy organization the Association for Behavioral Healthcare.

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“We’ve got a really solid foundation in Massachusetts in terms of treatment,” DiGravio said in an interview. “What the governor’s plan does is it looks at this holistically, in terms of prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery supports, and looks at it holistically from Department of Public Health, MassHealth, Department of Corrections, and Division of Insurance. In many ways, it’s really exciting to have this kind of high level report with this level of detail and depth.”
Some of the larger aspects of the initiative include:
Creating a public awareness campaign to reduce stigma around addiction and reframe it as a mental disease
Partner with a yet-to-be-identified pharmacy chain on a drug take-back program
Tighten requirements around use of the Prescription Monitoring Program
Add 100 new treatment beds by July 2016
Create a pilot program for walk-in access in community outpatient provider settings and a pilot program for recovery coaches in emergency departments
Increase treatment beds within the Department of Corrections
Remove prior authorization protocols under the Group Insurance Commission
Create revised rates for residential recovery homes as of July 1
Increase federal support for programs for veterans