CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Opioid-related overdose deaths in Massachusetts reached a new record high last year.

Senator John Velis says it has been extremely challenging for people struggling with substance use to access essential care. He has secured funding in the Senate Budget to help combat this epidemic. This includes $50,000 for Tapestry Health’s new device which can identify fatal substances present in a drug supply and $75,000 for Baystate Noble Hospital’s Opioid Treatment & Prevention Grant Program.

These amendments will now be considered in a conference committee with the House of Representatives.

“The numbers being reported by the Department of Public Health are utterly heartbreaking and shine a light on how hard this pandemic has been for individuals struggling with substance use,” said Senator Velis. “This period of isolation and stress has been challenging beyond belief and many people have been unable to access essential care. It is my hope that this funding will help Tapestry and Baystate expand their work and save lives throughout our communities.”