FAIRFIELD, Conn. – State Reps. Brenda Kupchick (R-132) and Laura Devlin (R-134) hailed milestone legislation to help address the state’s growing opioid crisis, which passed overwhelmingly in the Connecticut House of Representatives on Monday, April 25.
The legislation, HB 5053, An Act Increasing Access to Overdose Reversal Drugs, passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 144-0 and now moves to the State Senate for final legislative approval.
The Fairfield representatives co-sponsored legislative forums at Sacred Heart University in January and at Pequot Library in an effort to determine what the state could do through legislation to combat opiate addiction crisis in Connecticut.
“Hearing stories from local groups, including the advocates of Community Addiction and Recovery Education and Support (CARES), about the increasing struggles with opiate addiction and the importance of all of us working together to stop this spreading epidemic affected me greatly. I view this legislation as the beginning and it is my hope that by working together we can begin to find positive solutions to this terrible scourge,” said Devlin.
At the public health hearing in March, Kupchick gave testimony pleading with members of the committee to act and treat this issue as a “State of Emergency.”
“Families of addicts need support with help understanding the problem and learning how to help their loved ones,” said Kupchick. “People, young and older, find themselves caught up in the disease of addiction with few resources available to help them. I understand this problem didn’t happen overnight, and won't be solved quickly, but I can't stress enough how important it is we do everything we can to stop this crisis.”
The legislation has several provisions that will build on the state's current actions to combat the opioid epidemic, including:
- Requiring municipalities to update their existing emergency medical services plans to ensure that the emergency responder is prepared to administer the overdose reversal drug naloxone
- Prohibiting commercial health carriers from requiring prior authorization for naloxone coverage
- Limiting the prescription of opioid drugs by various factors including a seven-day cap on opioid prescriptions
- Making changes to the state's electronic prescription monitoring program
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