The Minnesota Senate today took a significant step in the battle against opioid addiction when Senate File 730, which dedicates resources to opioid prevention and treatment programs, was approved by a 60-6 vote.
The bill, authored by Senate Finance Chair Julie Rosen (R-Vernon Center), would fund prevention, treatment, and research, as well as require stronger reporting by pharmaceutical companies and law enforcement officers. Funding for the bill would come from an increase in licensing fees on opioid manufacturers and distributors.
“Opioid addiction is a tragedy that is sweeping not just Minnesota but the nation,” said Sen. Rosen. “Opioids have been one of my top issues for a long time precisely because it impacts every community in every region of the state. Local pilot programs are having success but the state has a responsibility to do its part to help with treatment, prevention, and innovative programs and research that will help end the crisis forever. We worked hard together to come up with a multi-faceted approach to this crisis affecting our state.”
The bill creates an Opiate Stewardship Advisory Council tasked with developing a statewide effort to curb opioid addiction. The 18-member council will be made up of legislators and medical and health experts, and will have a number of responsibilities, including…
- Prevention and education, including public awareness, prescriber education, the development and sustainability of opioid overdose prevention and education programs, and financial support to local law enforcement agencies for opiate prevention programs.
- Treatment, including statewide access to effective treatment and recovery services.
- Innovation and capacity building, including development of evidence-based practices, using research and evaluation to understand which policies and programs promote efficient and effective prevention, treatment, and recovery results.
A conference committee made up of members of the House and Senate will soon be convened to work out the differences between the two bills.