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Senator Velis secures budget amendments to fund Narcan pilot program and help people in recovery find jobs

BOSTON – On May 26, the Massachusetts State Senate unanimously adopted two amendments sponsored by Senator John C. Velis during its Fiscal Year 2022 Budget debate. Amendment #478 provides $800,000 to RecoveryWorks, an affiliate of Massachusetts General Hospital that provides employment opportunities and supports to individuals throughout the Commonwealth who struggle with substance use disorders. Amendment #409 allocates $100,000 for the creation of a state-wide pilot program to increase access to Narcan and naloxone kits for school districts.

“Re-entering the workforce is such an important step for individuals in recovery. It is a chance for them to grow and regain self-confidence, develop tangible skills, and make connections that will lead them further down their career paths. Most importantly though, employment provides individuals in recovery with a stability that is difficult to find elsewhere,” stated Velis, who is vice-chair of the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery. “Unfortunately there still exists a deep stigma around substance use disorders, especially when it comes to employing someone who is in recovery. That is why the work of RecoveryWorks is so important and why the funding in this amendment is so critical.”

RecoveryWorks provides participants with career advice and job search coaching; continued clinical support during the job search and initial employment; ongoing on-the-job mentorship; and assistance with legal and healthcare issues. While in the program participants must also agree to pursue addiction treatment as well. They also serve as liaisons to employers for up to five years in order to facilitate and ensure the participants are securing an effective long-term job.

On Wednesday, the Senate also voted unanimously to adopt amendment #409, which provides $100,000 for a state-wide pilot program to increase access to Narcan and naloxone kits for school districts.

“Western Massachusetts, and our Commonwealth as a whole, has seen far too many lives lost due to opioid overdoses, and we continue to fight this epidemic every single day. Increasingly concerning is the growing rate of opioid use in high school students, ” said Velis. “The reality is our Commonwealth will continue to see this issue grow in this age group and opioid overdose-related deaths can be prevented when naloxone is administered in a timely manner. We can and must increase access to these life-saving medications in our communities, because in those terrifying minutes, every second is so critical.”

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