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State Passes Bill Combating Opioid Addiction

Gov. Dannel Malloy praised legislation designed to combat opioid addiction in Connecticut.
Gov. Dannel Malloy praised legislation designed to combat opioid addiction in Connecticut. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness

FAIRFIELD, Conn. -- Legislators on both sides of the aisle as well as Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman are hailing a vote in the state Senate to approve legislation that will expand the state’s effort to combat the growing opioid epidemic.

“This is a big step – and it’s an important action for families statewide. This is a devastating trend that is hurting families in so many communities across our country and here at home," said Malloy. "That is why we put together this comprehensive package, which will be the fifth bill in last six years. As we fight this epidemic, we’re also working to prevent addiction from occurring in the first place. Thanks to the overwhelmingly bipartisan response from lawmakers, many of whom worked with us to draft this bill, the action we are taking will take us another step forward and will have a positive impact on peoples’ lives.”

The comprehensive bill has several provisions that will build on the state’s current actions to combat the opioid epidemic by requiring that local first responders have, and are trained to use the overdose reversal drug naloxone. It also prohibits commercial health carriers from requiring prior authorization for the coverage of naloxone.

In addition, the legislation limits the prescription of opioid drugs by reducing the amount provided to children and adults to no longer than seven days on the initial prescription and for doctors to discuss the dangers with their patients, in addition to other measures.

The new legislation builds on previous laws passed to stem the flood of opioid deaths including the 2014 expansion of Good Samaritan protections for any person who administers naloxone to save a life. Previously, only licensed health care practitioners were allowed to administer the medication. To date, state troopers have saved 63 lives by utilizing this law.

“Addressing opioid abuse must be part of Connecticut’s public health strategy. This legislation, in conjunction with the initiatives we’ve put in place over the past six years, will help us combat addiction, reduce overdose deaths, and improve screening," said Wyman.

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