There is a new push to replenish the state fund to cut the cost of the life-saving drug Naloxon, months after its financial support has quietly dried up, almost doubling the price of local first-aiders.
Attorney General Maura Healey's office confirmed on Tuesday that it had deposited $ 250,000 into the Municipal Naloxone Bulk Purchase Trust Fund last week, giving the account the first fresh infusion since it was used up last fall.
Several legislators are pushing ahead with proposals that could add hundreds of thousands more to the fund, and a corporate-backed group launched a year ago to fight against the flood of opioids wants to contribute another $ 50,000.
The news of the private donation quickly prompted the Baker administration to encourage others to give.
"If we bring people seriously into recovery and treatment, the first step is to keep them alive," said MP Andy Vargas, a Haverhill Democrat, two amendments to the next house budget that would support the account.
The fund, which is overseen by the Department of Public Health, was created to buy the drug called Narcan, which helps lower the price that cities would otherwise pay. About 1
The fund initially relied on a $ 325,000 settlement that reached Healey's office in 2015, plus $ 100,000 that the Legislature entered to spray Narcan at $ 40 per box. But funding expired in September and the first responders had to pay $ 71,
According to a report, the DPH filed with the legislators at the end of March.
Help followed quickly. Healey's office cut a $ 250,000 check on April 9th. He used money from a 2017 agreement with Insys Therapeutics Inc., a company accused of using misleading marketing to inject a fentanyl spray. That's in addition to a $ 47,000 settlement pot that her office said earlier this month.
On Monday, RIZE Massachusetts, a group that started with $ 13 million in private support last year, said it would contribute $ 50,000. Marylou Sudders, Secretary for Health and Human Services, applauded the donation and encouraged others to "consider supporting this program."
"The epidemic has been so harsh for cities, and especially for first responders," said Julie Burns. CEO of RIZE, who supported General Electric, Partners HealthCare and others. "We saw this as a way to support the work that they do."
The next step could be in the legislature. Vargas proposes to spend $ 350,000 over the next fiscal year and allow nonprofit organizations to buy the drug through the fund. His amendments are part of a handful of proposals that legislators have made to the budget of the House.
"Given the total budget [state]that's a small amount of money, and it addresses a crisis we need to address." Said Representative Linda Dean Campbell, a Methuen Democrat who has proposed a $ 100,000 infusion but also supports Vargas' change.
Campbell pointed to the explosion of the powerful opioid fentanyl and the recent appearance of the even deadlier carfentanil Reasons for dropping Narcan's price
The House directors did not budget for additional funds for their original budget proposal, but Representative Jeffrey Sánchez, chairman of House Ways & Means, said he was open to it notes that the House has already provided $ 1 million for a separate account to fund Narcan grants.
"I feel the challenges are so great," he said last week, "all of them are really prepared for what's going on. , , This is a scourge that affects every community in different ways.
Matt Stout can be reached at email@example.com Follow him on Twitter @mattpstout .