House Approves New Opioid Legislation

May 31, 2017

Rep. Sean Scanlon praised passage of House Bill 7052, An Act Preventing Prescription Opioid Diversion and Abuse, the latest effort co-sponsored and championed by Scanlon and colleagues on both sides of the aisle to combat Connecticut’s opioid crisis.

“While progress is certainly being made, there is no denying that Connecticut and the United States are in the midst of a full-blown crisis when it comes to the opioid epidemic,” Rep. Scanlon said. “This bill, similar to legislation I was proud to work on in 2015 and 2016, is another step in the right direction in our fight against this deadly crisis.”

This year in Connecticut, more people will die from drug overdoses than car accidents and gun violence combined. The bill furthers recent progress by doing the following:

  • Reduces the maximum opioid drug prescription for minors from 7 days to 5 days and maintains current law, passed by Scanlon in 2016, that allows a prescribing practitioner to exceed the limit for chronic pain, palliative care or acute pain if necessary as long as it is documented in the medical record
  • Requires individual and group health insurers to cover medically necessary detox treatment, as defined by American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) so that those looking for help cannot be turned away due to insurance issues
  • Facilitates the destruction of unused medication by utilizing RN's employed for home health care agencies
  • Allows an home health care RN to oversee the disposal of controlled substances, including going to a prescription drug drop box
  • Increases data sharing between state agencies regarding opioid abuse or opioid overdose deaths
  • Increases security of controlled substances prescriptions by requiring scheduled drugs be electronically prescribed
  • Expands requirements about information regarding provider communications about of the risk and signs of addiction, and the dangers of drug interactions to cover all opioid prescriptions – current law passed in 2016 is just for minors
  • Allows patients to file a voluntary non-opioid form in their medical records indicating that they do not want to be prescribed or administered opioid drugs

HB 7052 is the third bill in three years Scanlon has worked on concerning Connecticut’s opioid epidemic. In 2015 he co-sponsored Public Act 15-198, a landmark law that required education for doctors and other prescribers on prescription drug abuse, cracked down on “doctor shopping” for prescription drugs and allowed pharmacists to prescribe life-saving anti-overdose drugs like Narcan over the counter.

In 2016 Scanlon wrote and sponsored legislation making Connecticut the second state in the nation to limit first-time opioid prescriptions to a seven day supply with exemptions for chronic pain as a way of reducing the number of unused and expired drugs in our communities.

“As I say each year, there is no silver bullet solution to this crisis but I truly believe we are making progress and for as long as I have this job I will never stop fighting to get those struggling with addiction help and working to combat this epidemic.”