Massachusetts’ State-Funded Overdose Prevention Hotline

Opioid overdose deaths in the state of Massachusetts reached record highs in 2022 with 2,357 fatalities, a 2.5% increase from the previous year.

In response, Governor Maura T. Healey and Lieutenant Governor Kimberly Driscoll have increased the state government’s effort to curb fatal overdoses.

The Healey-Driscoll administration has devoted resources to addiction treatment and harm reduction initiatives alike. In September 2023, Massachusetts became the first state to fund an overdose prevention hotline.

Massachusetts’ Opioid Overdose Prevention Hotline

The state’s opioid overdose prevention hotline began as a grassroots campaign in 2020 in coordination with Boston Medical Center (BMC) and RIZE Massachusetts.

Volunteer operators receive calls from people who were about to self-administer illicit drugs. The operator takes the caller’s address and phone number, then stays on the line for a minimum of five minutes to monitor for unresponsiveness and other signs of overdose.

If the operator cannot get the caller to respond, then a predetermined bystander or emergency services can be called to assist the caller.

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Providing State Funding For The Overdose Prevention Hotline

On September 26, 2023 the Healey-Driscoll administration announced that the state would provide $350,000 in funds to the overdose prevention hotline.

The funds are intended to:

  • help hire paid staff
  • provide stipends for volunteers
  • expand state-wide coverage
  • reduce wait-times
  • promote the hotline to raise awareness

Since the beginning of 2023, the hotline has helped to remotely supervise 581 use events. 483 of the calls were made between July 1st and the end of September.

In that time, operators have assisted in successfully reversing nine overdoses.

The Success Of Overdose Prevention Hotlines

Massachusetts’ Opioid Overdose Prevention Hotline makes a difference by ensuring that no one who is addicted to drugs has to use drugs alone.

State Unintentional Drug Overdose Reporting System (SUDORS) data from 2021 revealed that 90% of all fatal drug overdose deaths in the state occurred in private settings where the victim was alone.

By providing trained operators, the overdose prevention hotline reduces the percentage of unwitnessed drug use, offering a lifeline when someone overdoses when they would normally be alone.

Massachusetts’ Efforts To Tackle The Opioid Epidemic

Funding the hotline is just one branch of Massachusetts state’s effort to reverse the current trend in opioid overdose deaths.

Additional efforts to reduce fatal overdoses include:

  • the distribution of 120,000 doses of naloxone (Narcan), reversing at least 2,080 overdoses
  • giving away over 347,000 fentanyl testing strips
  • increased funding to the Department of Public Health for peer recovery support centers

All in all, the state’s 2024 budget has over $700 million slotted for the prevention of substance use disorders.

Contacting The Opioid Overdose Prevention Hotline

If you or a loved one uses opioids outside of prescribed usage, including taking larger or more frequent doses of an opioid you have been prescribed, then this overdose prevention hotline can provide some security.

You can contact this toll-free hotline at (800) 972-0590.

In the meantime, consider seeking treatment for a substance use disorder to eliminate the risk of overdose entirely.

Find Addiction Treatment In Massachusetts

To learn more about your opioid addiction treatment options, contact us at Bedrock Recovery Center today.

  1. Boston Public Radio
  2. Northeast Public Radio
  3. The Commonwealth Of Massachusetts

Written by Bedrock Recovery Center Editorial Team

Published on: October 9, 2023

© 2024 Bedrock Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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