Free Nicotine Patches Now Available For Massachusetts Residents
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) today announced a nicotine patch giveaway for people in recovery from alcohol or other drugs who want to quit smoking.
People in recovery who call the state’s Quitline at 1-800-Try-to-STOP will receive a free four-week supply of nicotine patches valued at $100 retail, along with informational resources on the benefits of quitting smoking and tips on how to stop. Program participants are also eligible for free telephone support to help them quit. The patch giveaway program will run through December 31.
“People overcome great obstacles when they put down alcohol and other drugs,” said DPH Commissioner John Auerbach, “but if they continue to smoke, they face a huge risk of dying from tobacco.” More than 300 people heard Auerbach speak at a State House rally in honor of Recovery Day, an annual event sponsored by MOAR (Mass Organization for Addiction Recovery).
“Though smoking rates have fallen in Massachusetts to a low of 16.4%, smoking rates among people entering substance abuse treatment top 75%” Auerbach said. He added that the smoking rate for individuals who have ever attended Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, or received treatment for drug or alcohol use is 47.6%*. As many as 60% of professional and support staff working in substance abuse treatment services are smokers. Support staffs are also eligible for this free patch promotion.
Tobacco-related diseases are the leading cause of death among people who have undergone treatment for alcohol and/or other drug addictions, and remain the #1 preventable cause of death and illness in Massachusetts and in the US.HH
Commissioner Auerbach also spoke of both Bill Wilson and Doctor Bob, co-founders of Alcoholics Anonymous. “Both Bill W. and Dr. Bob helped so many people to recover from alcohol and drugs,” he said, “but they both died from smoking — Bill W. from emphysema, and Dr. Bob from lung cancer.
“We’ve learned a lot about smoking that we didn’t know in Bill W.’s time,” Mr. Auerbach said. “We know how dangerous and how addictive smoking is. But we also know that those who get support and use medications like the patch are more than twice as likely to be able to quit for good as those who try to quit on their own.”
Health officials announced last week that a recent statewide patch giveaway program conducted during July and August was very successful and resulted in nearly 10,000 residents receiving free patches.