The Overdose Prevention and Education Network, OPEN, is a regional collaboration between the communities of Cambridge, Everett, Somerville and Watertown, Massachusetts to address the issue of opioid use and abuse and fatal and non-fatal opioid overdoses. The Cambridge Public Health Department is the lead agency for this four-city collaborative.
OPEN is working with community members and organizations, as well as local hospitals, police, fire, and health departments across all four towns to raise awareness about prescription opioid safety, and prevent fatal and non-fatal overdoses.
Some of the strategies OPEN is working on include:
- Prescription Take Back Events
- Increasing access and awareness of Narcan
- Encourage residents to safely store and dispose of medications when they are no longer needed. Look for our Prescription Take-Back events in April and October!
- Provide free Opioid Overdose Prevention and Response Trainings for community members and organizations. Participants learn information about opioids, how to recognize and respond to an opioid overdose, Narcan, addiction, stigma, and community resources for support and treatment.
- Raise awareness about the Massachusetts Good Samaritan law, which provides limited immunity from arrest or prosecution for minor drug law violations for people who call 911 when they witness an overdose.
- Distribute overdose prevention educational materials to doctors’ offices, mental health providers, homeless shelters, human services agencies, schools, and local businesses.
- Partner with local pharmacists and physicians to prevent prescription pain medication abuse, misuse, and fraud.
- Promote Learn to Cope support groups for parents and families dealing with a loved one addicted to heroin, OxyContin and other drugs. Learn to Cope is an anonymous and safe group that holds weekly meetings that offer support, education, and resources. Narcan is available at all meetings.