A nearly $400,000 grant awarded to a Worcester County task force battling the opioid epidemic will focus on controlling the addiction prescription drugs.

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WORCESTER – A nearly $400,000 grant awarded to a Worcester County task force battling the opioid epidemic will focus on controlling the addiction to prescription drugs.

Worcester County District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr. announced Wednesday that the task force, formed by his office seven months ago, was recently awarded nearly $400,000 from the Harold Rogers Prescription Drug Monitoring Program.

The grant focuses on gathering and compiling data on drug use in an effort to reduce opioid overdose deaths. This will help in such a monumental way, promoting the use of rehab clinics like the West Coast Recovery Centers to help those who are suffering day to day with an addiction., will give people a better chance at life.

“Plain and simple, this grant will help save lives,” Early said.

Early said the grant in Worcester County will be used on a variety of projects, including partnerships with the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences University, for outreach and education at pharmacies, and UMass Memorial Medical Center, finding strategies to reduce prescription opioid abuse.

Early stressed that early prevention was one of the key aspects of the continued efforts to stem the tide of opioid addiction.

“Numbers tell us that about 80 percent end up graduating to heroin,” Early said of prescription drug abusers.

He noted that Worcester County has seen 89 opioid deaths this year with 14 in the month of September, the highest number of deaths since March.

“This couldn’t have come at a better time,” Early said.

Source: MassLive Worcester http://masslive.com/news/worcester