History

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts was awarded a Strategic Prevention Framework State Incentive Grant (SPF-SIG) in October of 2006 from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration’s (SAMHSA) Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP).  The Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s Bureau of Substance Abuse Services (BSAS) is administering this grant with guidance from a state-level advisory group under the banner of Massachusetts Collaborative for Action, Leadership, and Learning (MassCALL2).  As part of this grant, Massachusetts funded 15 communities with a three-year average of 30 or more unintentional fatal or non-fatal opioid overdoses to implement a variety of evidence-based overdose prevention strategies using SAMHSA’s five-step Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF) model.

Cambridge was one of the funded communities and established the Overdose Prevention and Education Network (OPEN).  From 2008-2013, OPEN worked to reduce the number of non-fatal and fatal opioid overdoses in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  OPEN provided free education services to anyone interested in overdose prevention  and conducted targeted outreach with opioid users, friends and family members of opioid users, and anyone who might be at risk for an overdose or who might witness an overdose.  Five Outreach Workers connected with community members on the street, in jails, in private homes, and in businesses across the city. During this time, OPEN also partnered with the AIDS Action Committee Needle Exchange Program and Cambridge Police Department and filmed key informational and educational videos regarding opioid overdose, risk factors, calling 911, and NARCAN use and administration.

In 2013, OPEN expanded after receiving the Massachusetts Opioid Abuse Prevention Collaborative (MOAPC) grant from BSAS, and is now a partnership between the communities of Cambridge, Everett, Somerville, and Watertown.  Together, we are working to prevent the non-medical use of prescription opioids, as well as opioid overdose.