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Photo of Senator John Larson.

STATE SENATOR

Tim Larson

Getting Results

Combatting the Opioid Epidemic

This year, I joined my colleagues in the General Assembly in passing House Bill 7052, a critical piece of legislation that builds on our previous work to fight opioid addiction in Connecticut. The Governor recently signed this bill into law. Every year there is a significant increase in heroin deaths. There were 917 fatal overdoses in Connecticut during 2016, an increase of 26 percent over the previous year, and the vast majority of these involved opioids.

The law passed by the General Assembly this year makes a range of important improvements to the state's ability to prevent and manage opioid abuse. Among other things, this year's bill does the following:

  • Establishes a "standing order" model, which makes it easier for friends and family members of opioid addicts to obtain Narcan, the life-saving opioid overdose reversal medication;
  • Reduces the maximum opioid prescription for minors from 7 days to 5 days, unless the prescribing doctor can document that an extended prescription is absolutely necessary for palliative care or to treat chronic pain, an acute medical condition, or cancer-associated pain;
  • Requires that certain health insurers cover medically necessary detox services;
  • Allows for the safe disposal of unused medications by registered nurses (RNs) providing home health care, which can include taking the medications to a prescription drug drop box;
  • Increases the sharing of data on opioid abuse and opioid overdose deaths by state agencies;
  • Makes opioid prescriptions more secure by ensuring that, under most circumstances, they be electronically prescribed, rather than prescribed using a pad and paper;
  • Requires alcohol and drug treatment facilities use American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) criteria for admission guidelines;
  • Ensures that all patients being prescribed an opioid are informed and aware of the risks of opioid use, signs of addictions, and dangers of drug interactions; and
  • Allows patients to add a form to their medical record indicating that they do not want to be prescribed or administered any opioids.

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