Governor Baker and Massachusetts legislators are tackling the state’s drug overdose crisis head on.
The governor, senate, and house have all filed bills to deal with the problem,” I think it’s great the governor made this a priority and the House and Senate are considering the serious issue of opioid addiction” said Julie Schwager, Vice President of Adult Services at the Center for Human Development.
In 2014, there were more than one-thousand such deaths in Massachusetts, a 63 percent increase over 2012.
The House bill would limit initial opiate painkiller prescriptions to a seven day supply and would require an in-depth evaluation made by a licensed medical professional to anyone who shows up in an emergency room with an opiate related overdose.
The governor’s proposal would limit initial opiate painkiller prescriptions to three days and would allow doctors to commit a person involuntarily to a drug treatment facility for up to 72 hours if they’re considered a danger to themselves or others.
A conference committee will eventually hammer out a final bill to be sent to the governor.
Holyoke State Rep. Aaron Vega says the final bill needs to look closely at treatment facilities, “I think the biggest issue whatever we do as far as controlling how much opioid drugs are given out and administered to patients, we’ve got to come back and increase treatment beds, ” said Vega.
Those who work with addiction say removing its stigma is also a major step forward, ” I think it’s also great the governor is looking at the issue of stigma and make sure that people who are suffering from addiction get the same kind of care and treatment someone suffering from any disease would have,” said Julie Schwager.
Schwager also says there are recovery beds at CHD that give people an option for long term treatment.
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