FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Media Contact: Mallory Strain 978-228-1233 | firstname.lastname@example.org
TUESDAY, July 11th – BOSTON – On Thursday, June 29th Representatives Andy Vargas, Kate Donaghue, Smitty Pignatelli, and Senator John Keenan hosted a naloxone training in the State House for legislators and staff. Naloxone, commonly known as its brand name Narcan, is a medication that can reverse an opioid overdose. The event was attended by more than 150 individuals, including legislators and their staff. Attendees learned how to use naloxone and received naloxone kits to take with them. The event, named the Brian Donaghue Simpson Naloxone Training and Advocacy Day, was held in honor of Representative Donaghue’s late son Brian. Brian died of an overdose in 2018 when he was 32. The event honored his life and the 2,357 individuals that died from opioid overdoses in Massachusetts in 2022. Representative Vargas, Representative Smitty Pignatelli, and Senator John Keenan hosted the event alongside Representative Donaghue.
The legislators partnered with Boston Medical Center’s Grayken Center for Addiction. Stephen Murray, a Harm Reduction Program Manager at the Grayken Center, gave a presentation on the current state of the opioid crisis in Massachusetts and gave a demonstration on how to administer naloxone. Murray, who himself has been in recovery for 12 years, emphasized that the state needs to rethink how to approach the crisis from decades past.
“We held this event to give every legislator and their staff the opportunity to learn how to use naloxone. Countless people approached us after the event expressing how appreciative they were of this training. Not long ago, people were arrested for giving people naloxone; now we’ve held a training at the State House. We have a long way to go, but our progress in ending stigma is cause for hope. Naloxone is a life-saving tool that gives people a chance at recovery. I’m so proud to have partnered with my colleagues and with Boston Medical Center on this crucial event.” – State Representative Andy Vargas, (D-Haverhill.)
The event also featured remarks from Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll, who highlighted the state’s work to expand distribution of naloxone and wraparound services for people in recovery. Health and Human Services Secretary Kate Walsh spoke to her experience at Boston Medical Center and emphasized the need for expanded access to naloxone. Representative Marjorie Decker, House Chair of the Public Health Committee, spoke as well.