Mayor Wu Announces $1 Million Grant To Address Overdose Deaths

Photo: Madison Rogers/WBZ NewsRadio

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Mayor Michelle Wu and the Boston Public Health Commission announced a $1 million grant on Wednesday to help community organizations in Boston work to prevent overdose deaths, specifically those serving Black and Latino communities with the highest overdose rates.

“Opioid overdose deaths have disproportionately occurred among Black and Latinx individuals throughout Boston,” said Dr. Bisola Ojikutu, commissioner of Public Health and executive director of the BPHC, in a press release.

Specifically, the BPHC’s data shows that in Black communities in Boston, overdoses have increased 29% from 2021-2022, and among Latino people, they have increased 9%.

It’s one of the leading causes of early death for Black and Latino men, explained the BPHC.

Dorchester, East Boston, Mattapan, Roxbury, and the South End are some of the neighborhoods with the highest overdose rates in the Boston area, and the grant will fund community-based organizations that are working to prevent overdose deaths and substance abuse in those areas.

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“Too many families have lost loved ones to the opioid epidemic here in Boston. This funding will help neighborhood based organizations save lives by preventing overdoses and helping residents access treatment,” said Wu.

The Community Overdose Response Grants — the second use of Boston's opioid remediation funding — will help organizations increase access to naloxone, a medication that can reverse an opioid overdose.

“We know naloxone saves lives, but access to it is limited and disparities exist in utilization and uptake. The Commission is committed to increasing access to naloxone and educating our residents on how to recognize and respond to an overdose. By partnering directly with communities, we can reach more people and be more impactful in this critical work,” explained Dr. Ojikutu.

Organizations can each request up to $200,000 and spend the funding over three years, and applications close on May 31.

“I want to thank the community organizations who are saving lives every day and our state and city partners who are fighting to end this epidemic,” shared Wu.

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In March, Wu and the BPHC announced the Family Overdose Support Fund to provide financial support to Boston families who have lost a loved one to an opioid overdose.

Boston has already received over $10 million from Massachusetts’s opioid settlements, and the city will incrementally get at least $22 million through 2038.

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