Fairfield lawmakers support measures to address state’s growing opioid epidemic

State Reps. Brenda Kupchick (R-132) and Laura Devlin (R-134) today came out in strong support of groundbreaking legislation that would combat opioid legislation in Connecticut.

The Public Health committee favorable approved SB-352, An Act Concerning Prescriptions for and the Dispensing of Opioid Antagonists which would limit first time adult opioid prescriptions for non-chronic pain to a seven-day supply and would limit all prescriptions for minors to a seven-day supply in which case the prescribing practitioner must discuss the risks associated with opioids with the minor’s parent or guardian.

Additionally, the bill would allow a prescribing practitioner who is authorized to prescribe an opioid antagonist to issue a standing order to a pharmacist for opioid antagonist (Narcan) that is (1) administered nasally or my auto injection, (2) FDA approved and (3) dispensed by the pharmacist to a person at risk of an overdose or to a friend family member or other person under the bill the pharmacist is not related to any professional standard of care.

The two lawmakers also hailed the passage of SB-353, An Act Concerning Opioid Abuse which would (1) add more stakeholders as members to the State Alcohol and Drug Policy Council, (2) allows a physician, APRN or PA to refer a patient to a licensed alcohol or drug councilor (LADC) for an assessment of opioid abuse or invention for opioid abuse prevention or prescribe an opioid to a patient conditioned on the patient’s agreement.

Both Devlin and Kupchick submitted testimony to the Public Health committee a few weeks ago at the legislative public hearing. Kupchick gave impassioned testimony that Connecticut was in a State of Emergency on the issue of Opiate abuse and addiction.

Kupchick said, “I’m encouraged the Public Health Committee is taking steps to address the heroin crisis. However, I would’ve liked to see the bill include our requests for restrictions of 72 hours for first time opioid prescriptions, and a special rider certificate for doctors who prescribe opioids along with full scale public service announcements, PSA’s program on the dangers of opioid/heroin addiction by the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.  This is a 911 emergency that requires bold steps. “

Devlin said, “I applaud the committee’s swift action on the passage of this critical legislation. We need all available tools to fight the opiate scourge hitting the main streets and neighborhoods of our community. Permitting greater access to life-saving tools, like Narcan, is imperative. I look forward to supporting these proposals on the House floor.”

Last week, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention advised doctors to refrain from giving opioid prescriptions to patients suffering from non-chronic pain, stating that the risks for such patients include addiction and death. According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, four in five new heroin users started out misusing prescription painkillers.

If SB-352 becomes law, the legislation limiting all adult first –time opiate prescriptions to a 7 day supply would represent a groundbreaking development in the fight against prescription drug abuse. The current cap on first time prescriptions a Connecticut is a 30 day supply. Connecticut would be the only second state in the country to limit prescriptions to one week for non-chronic pain.

According to the data made available by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, there has been a significant increase in the rise of overdoses related to opioids and heroin in Connecticut. From 2014 to 2015, heroin deaths increased by 27% in Connecticut and of the 723 people who died of an overdose in 2015, 415 of those were heroine related and another 107 were related to fentanyl, a powerful opiate that drug dealers have been lacing heroine with to make it more potent.

Experts point to the over-prescribing of opioids in 2012, 259 million prescriptions were written for opioids, enough to give every adult their own bottle of pills – as one of the leading causes of our current crisis.

The bill received unanimous support in the Public Health committee today and now goes to the State Senate and House of Representatives for a full floor debate and vote.

About author

By participating in the comments section of this site you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and User Agreement

© HAN Network. All rights reserved. Fairfield Sun, 1000 Bridgeport Avenue, Shelton, CT 06484

Designed by WPSHOWER

Powered by WordPress