City tops region’s bulk purchases of anti-overdose drug

Police, firefighters, colleges and public schools are stopping overdoses — and saving money — through bulk purchases of the antidote drug naloxone, but the cost of the anti-opioid medicine is going up.

More than 143 communities-— including Haverhill, Methuen, North Andover and Andover — paid a total of $238,608 for doses of the anti-overdose drug in fiscal year 2017, according to a state Department of Public Health report. Overall, the state bulk-purchasing program distributed more than 8,500 doses of naloxone to cities and towns.

The bulk-buying program was created by lawmakers in 2015 in response to a spike in overdoses that claimed thousands of lives. The state buys the medicine and then sells it to communities at reduced cost.

Money to begin the program came from an agreement between Attorney General Maura Healey and Amphastar Pharmaceuticals, which provided $325,000 to acquire and distribute the medicine at

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