Gov. Charlie Baker on Thursday unveiled legislation to further tackle the state’s opioid abuse crisis — and it includes two controversial provisions.
One would have doctors give first-time patients only a 72-hour supply of opiate medication.
“You can always, as a patient, go back to discuss additional options after that 72-hour period, but the days of people walking out of a dentist’s office or a doctor’s office with 30, 60 or 90 days of this pain medication need to come to an end,” Baker said at a news conference.
In the second controversial provision, Baker wants to give hospitals the ability to hold a drug abuser against their will for 72 hours because they are deemed a danger to themselves or others.
.@MassGovernor says letting hospitals hold patients for 72 hour invol. is controversial but reasonable, have to stop pinballing of patients.
— Martha Bebinger (@mbebinger) October 15, 2015
“Since the Working Group’s Action Plan was made public in June, we have expanded treatment services, eliminated insurance barriers and worked to increase education for students, parents, and faculty, broadened public awareness of the crisis and expanded access to life-saving Narcan,” Marylou Sudders, state health and human services secretary, said in a statement accompanying the bill. “This legislation will allow us to continue progress in order to bend the trend of overdoses and addiction that is devastating individuals, families and our communities.”
We’ll update this post with Martha Bebinger’s full report on the bill later.