$5 million proposal by Massachusetts Senate would expand needle exchange programs, increase access to Narcan

House and Senate budget negotiators on Wednesday will begin settling a wide range of spending differences in the annual state spending plan, but in doing so they will also face major decisions about a series of potentially life-saving measures.

Senate negotiators on a six-member conference committee will try to convince their House colleagues to agree to a $5 million program aimed at reducing the death toll from the opioid epidemic.

“Those things that you see are very much all evidence-based because this is what the commission found,” said Sen. Cindy Friedman, who sat on the Harm Reduction Commission. “Without that commission, we certainly wouldn’t have the understanding and the evidence that these things work. I think that was a major part.”

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