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As Commissioner of the Department of Public Health, I have the privilege of seeing first hand the vital work our Department performs on a daily basis – and it is an impressive range of activities.

To name just a few of them, dedicated staff at DPH work to promote healthier lifestyles through the Governor’s Mass in Motion initiative, track the spread of infectious disease, ensure the highest quality of care at hospitals and other health care facilities, protect our food supply and promote environmental health, monitor trends in the health of Massachusetts residents, provide direct care to patients at four DPH-run hospitals, and reduce the impact of substance abuse in our communities and our young people.

And that’s just the beginning of the list. I hope that this new blog will serve as a forum to share news and updates on the full panorama of Department efforts to improve the health and well-being of residents in communities across the Commonwealth.

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the Impact Quincy Opioid Conference, where the Department of Public Health announced $1.3 million in grant funding to create the Massachusetts Opioid Abuse Prevention Collaborative Program – a groundbreaking initiative which will work to reduce opioid abuse and misuse across the state.

A total of 71 communities across the state will receive funding dispersed though 13 lead municipalities, allowing cities and towns to create partnerships with their neighbors to address these issues together for the first time.

These communities will use the funding for a wide range of strategies such as training family members and bystanders about the signs of overdose; educating local police and emergency personnel about working with incarcerated addicts; training family members and emergency response personnel on the use of Narcan; and referring youth for screening, brief intervention, referral and treatment.

The Department’s strong relationship with community leaders and the state Legislature plays a crucial role in the success of the programs we deliver through the Bureau of Substance Abuse Services (BSAS). I was very pleased to be joined for the grant announcement by Senator John F. Keenan, the Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Public Health, Representative Liz Malia, the House Chair of the Joint Committee on Mental Health and Substance Abuse, and Quincy Mayor Thomas P. Koch.

Speakers gathered at podium

(L to R) Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch, Senator John F. Keenan, Representative Liz Malia, and DPH Commissioner Cheryl Bartlett.

Following is a full list of the municipalities awarded funding:

  • Berkshire Public Health Alliance: Adams, Alford, Becket, Clarksburg, Dalton, Egremont, Great Barrington, Hancock, Lanesboro, Lee, Lenox, Mount Washington, New Marlborough, North Adams, Peru,  Pittsfield, Richmond, Sandisfield, Savoy, Sheffield,  Stockbridge, Washington, West Stockbridge, Williamstown.
  • Boston
  • Brockton: East Bridgewater, Rockland and Whitman
  • Cambridge: Everett, Somerville and Watertown
  • Fitchburg: Athol, Gardner, Leominster
  • Gloucester: Beverly and Danvers
  • Medford: Malden, Melrose,  Reading, Stoneham, Wakefield
  • Lowell: Billerica, Chelmsford,  Dracut, Tewksbury
  • Lynn: Peabody and Salem
  • Quincy: Braintree, Randolph,  Stoughton, Weymouth
  • Revere: Chelsea, Saugus and Winthrop
  • Springfield: Chicopee and Holyoke
  • Worcester: Leicester, Shrewsbury, West Boylston

These grants are a part of the Department’s comprehensive approach to substance abuse prevention, which includes a recently received $3.6 million, 3-year grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration SAMHSA to prevent prescription drug misuse and abuse among persons aged 12 to 25 in high need Massachusetts communities. DPH also continues to fund municipalities across the state to implement strategies to reduce underage drinking.

The start date for the implementation of the Massachusetts Opioid Abuse Prevention Collaborative is July 1, 2013, which will allow this important work to continue and expand. Many thanks to our partners in state, federal and local government for being so responsive on this important issue, which affects every community in the Commonwealth.

Click here for more information about the Bureau of Substance Abuse Services.

The Department will have much more news in the coming weeks and months – so be sure to check back here for the latest news from the Commissioner’s Corner.




Written By:

Commissioner of the Department of Public Health

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