May 2, 2016
This year we passed one of the most comprehensive laws in the nation to prevent and treat opioid abuse.
This legislation is aimed at fighting Connecticut's epidemic of opioid abuse. It is estimated that up to 36 million people abuse opioids worldwide with an estimated 2.1 million people in the United States suffering from substance abuse related to prescription pain relievers. In recent years, Connecticut, like the other New England states, has had a steady increase in fatal opioid overdoses.
In 2015, more than 400 people in Connecticut died from overdoses associated with heroin, more than double the number in 2012, according to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. The American Association of Addiction Medicine has found that four of every five new heroin users come to the drug from prescription opioids.
Earlier this year we passed groundbreaking legislation to combat this crisis. The law would do three main things:
- allow any licensed healthcare professional to administer drugs aimed at preventing opioid overdoses.
- require municipalities to equip their first responders with an opioid antagonist such as Narcan. Earlier this year the state negotiated a price cut on Narcan
- cap opioid prescriptions at 7 days. 55% of people who became addicted to opioids get their first dose from a friend with medicine left over from an old prescription
The Governor has already given his support for the bill, and soon Connecticut will have one of the most comprehensive laws in the nation to prevent and treat opioid abuse. This quite literally is a lifesaving bill.