BOSTON (WWLP)-Governor Charlie Baker (R-Massachsuetts) is proposing that the state invest more money in substance use recovery and prevention efforts next fiscal year, as the state tries to combat the opioid addiction crisis.
In the first nine months of 2017, more than 900 people died from opioid-related overdoses, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Baker has made it his priority to make funds available to fight the opioid and heroin crisis.
“We significantly increased funding for substance misuse services across the commonwealth and while we’ve made progress, there’s much more to do,” Baker said.
Baker included several areas of funding to combat the opioid epidemic in his new budget plan for fiscal 2019.
Baker’s budget totals $40.9 billion. It includes new funding for prevention and recovery efforts.
“$5 million is devoted to a new Substance Use, Prevention, Education, and Screening trust Fund to implement effective school-based prevention and intervention programs and provide grants for students in need,” the Governor said.
Baker’s plan also allocates $2.5 million to recovery high schools across the state-one of which is located in Springfield. They’re public schools that support students who are in recovery from alcohol and drug use.
Baker also proposes increasing funding for the attorney general’s office to pursue investigations into fraudulent prescription practices and fentanyl trafficking.
The House budget committee will now review the Governor’s proposal and craft their own recommendations for the spending plan.