WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – $75,000 is going towards the local fight against the opioid epidemic thanks to a legislative earmark from the state.

The opioid epidemic didn’t go away during the COVID-19 pandemic, and that’s why Friday’s speakers said these funds are so important.

22News was at the check presentation at Baystate Noble Hospital in Westfield with State Senator John Velis in attendance. Senator Velis has been a part of bringing in the more than $300,000 in funds to the hospital group over the years. It’s designed to support opioid and substance use prevention and treatment efforts.

Michael Knapik, Vice President of Government & Community Relations at Baystate Health, told 22News, “We’ve got to double back down before too much time is lost to really deal with the situation. We’re prepared to do it from the expertise of Baystate Health at large, and then when it gets to local communities this helps us deliver that care locally.”

This year’s earmark funds were given to three community organizations: Hampden County DART, the Mental Health Association, and Westfield State University.