The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has been awarded a $400,000 federal grant to help combat prescription drug abuse.
Gov. Deval Patrick, who has declared opioid abuse a public health emergency, said Friday that the grant will help improve the state's Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, which tracks the prescribing and dispensing of certain scheduled prescriptions drugs by Massachusetts pharmacies.
The two-year U.S. Department of Justice grant will allow the state to offer training to health care providers using the system. It will also help fund training for law enforcement officials on the "behavioral aspects of prescription drug abuse" and other education and outreach initiatives.
Public health commissioner Cheryl Bartlett and other state leaders said monitoring prescription drugs is a key part of addressing the drug epidemic.
"This important (Department of Justice) grant will help increase training for Massachusetts officials using the monitoring program in recognizing the signs of addiction and providing appropriate referrals to treatment, which is key to breaking the cycle of abuse and addiction," U.S. Sen. Edward Markey said in a statement.