Scanlon Heralds OK Of Latest Opioid Bill

March 28, 2017

The legislature's Public Health Committee passed HB 7010 An Act Concerning Opioids and Substance Use Disorders, a bill co-sponsored by Rep. Sean Scanlon.

Since taking office in 2015, Rep. Scanlon has worked extensively across party lines to pass legislation to combat Connecticut's opioid epidemic which took the lives of over 900 state residents last year.

"There is no silver bullet solution to solving Connecticut's opioid epidemic but I'm proud to have once again worked with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to pass further legislation seeking to combat this deadly crisis by making it easier for people to find treatment, ensuring consistent insurance coverage for that treatment, and encouraging more public awareness about the dangers of opioids" said Rep. Scanlon.

HB 7010 has several major components including:

  • Requires the Department of Public Health, in collaboration with the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, to create a website where people can see a real-time list of facilities with available treatment beds and providers prescribing medication assisted treatment such as methadone and buprenorphine.
  • Requires insurance companies to cover inpatient substance abuse treatment until the individual has been determined to be "stabilized," not based on when insurance companies determine they will pay until. The Insurance Committee, which Scanlon chairs, passed similar legislation (SB 543) last earlier this month.
  • Encourages doctors and pharmacists who prescribe or distribute opioids to give their patients a one-page fact sheet on the dangers of opioids and, per a Scanlon amendment, information about the closet safe disposal box for opioids.

HB 7010 is the third major opioid bill Rep. Scanlon has worked on since taking office. 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 Rep. 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.