Governor signs bill to combat opiate abuse

Bipartisan legislation limits opioid prescriptions to seven days; partnership created to develop plan on fighting epidemic

State Reps. Brenda Kupchick (R-132) and Laura Devlin (R-134) today applauded Governor Dannel P. Malloy’s signature on legislation that will expand the state’s effort to combat the opioid epidemic.

The state representatives were accompanied by local prevention advocates at the historic State Capitol bill signing.

Kupchick said, “In 2016 Opiate addiction continued to rise in into a full blown crisis. Together we reached out to mental health professionals, law enforcement and the community and took what we learned to help craft this legislation. This issue has touched me personally and I feel the pain of the families deeply. I’m proud of this work with the knowledge we still have more to do.”

Devlin said, “I want to thank both, Community Addiction & Recovery Education and Support (C.A.R.E.S.), Trumbull Partnership Against Underage Drinking & Drugs (TPAUD) and Tee Doonan from HeroinKillsCT for their dogged advocacy. While there is no silver bullet solution to the opiate crisis; this bi-partisan legislation is a major step forward,” said Devlin. “This law can and will save lives and will go a long way towards cutting off opiate addiction before it even begins.”

Melissa McGarry, Project Director of the Trumbull Partnership Against Underage Drinking & Drugs (TPAUD) said, “Substance abuse is having a devastating impact on families in Trumbull and across the state, but we are tackling this issue through a true community collaboration. TPAUD members and partners like The C.A.R.E.S. Group and Tee Doonan from HeroinKillsCT have been educating the public about this crisis, and the ways we can help our residents. We are grateful to our local legislators for their efforts to pass this lifesaving piece of legislation.”

Kupchick and Devlin hosted a legislative opiate addiction community forum in January which helped legislators develop many of the concepts that ended up in the final proposed bill.

Devlin and Kupchick thanked the Governor for including all major stakeholders to the table that resulted in a unanimous and bi-partisan proposal.

The legislation, Public Act 16-43, is comprehensive in nature and incorporates several provisions, including:

  • Prohibiting, for adult patients, an initial prescription of opioid drugs for longer than seven days
  • Prohibiting, for minor patients, any prescriptions of opioid drugs for longer than seven days and requiring the prescriber to discuss the risks associated with the drug with the patient and, if present, the custodial parent, guardian, or other person having legal custody of the patient
  • Allowing, for both adult and minor patients, a prescriber to give more than a seven-day supply of opioid drugs if, in the prescriber’s professional medical judgement, the acute or chronic pain condition requires it and requires the prescriber to note such condition in the medical record
  • Requiring municipalities to update their existing emergency medical services plans to ensure that the emergency responder likely to the first person on the scene of an emergency call is equipped with and prepared to administer the overdose reversal drug naloxone and has been appropriately trained to do so
  • Closing a gap in current liability language related to a licensed health care professional who administers an opioid antagonist
  • Prohibiting commercial health carriers from requiring prior authorization for coverage of naloxone
  • Requiring the Alcohol and Drug Policy Council’s state plan to include, by January 1, 2017, a goal of reducing the number of opioid-induced deaths in the state
  • Making several changes to the state’s electronic prescription monitoring program to help facilitate prescriber and pharmacist compliance
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