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September 19, 2023

UMass Memorial granted $154K to expand opioid disorder treatment

Photo | Timothy Doyle UMass Memorial Medical Center's University campus, which is one of the hospitals in the UMass Memorial Health system.

UMass Memorial Health has received $153,824 in a combined grant from The Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts, Reliant Foundation, and RIZE Massachusetts for an opioid-use disorder education program targeted at prescribers.

The goal of the program is to increase the body of healthcare professionals trained in opioid-use disorder treatment and overdose prevention, as well as increase access to care, according to a Monday press release from The Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts, which is based in Worcester.

The UMass Memorial program will train physicians across affiliations in prescribing buprenorphine, a drug used in opioid dependence treatment. The first training will be held on Dec. 14 in Worcester.

“We were eager to support this project because of the opportunity to make a meaningful difference in the worsening overdose epidemic by expanding access to this evidence-based treatment for OUD in Central Massachusetts, a region in which many face barriers to access, especially in rural areas,” Amie Shei, president and CEO of The Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts, said in the press release.

Worcester and Worcester County saw opioid deaths increase significantly in the past year. Statewide, opioid-related death increases are at the highest rate among Black, non-Hispanic residents, according to Mass. Department of Public Health data.

The Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts contributed $118,824 of the grant funding, added with a $20,000 grant from Reliant Foundation in Worcester and $15,000 from RIZE Massachusetts in Boston.

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