Passed overwhelmingly, legislation targets multi-faceted approach in addressing opioid epidemic
Senator Andrew Mathews (R-Milaca) joined his Minnesota State Senate colleagues in overwhelmingly passing bipartisan legislation that tackles the ongoing opioid addiction crisis through a multi-faceted approach. The bill touches each level of the legal opiate distribution chain and creates a new Opiate Epidemic Response Account to fund initiatives, locally and statewide, that address opioid addiction in Minnesota. Of all 87 counties in Minnesota, Kanabec and Mille Lacs counties are second and third when it comes to the highest rates of opioids dispensed per resident. A recent study from the National Safety Council found that it is more likely for an individual to die from an opioid overdose than a car accident in the United States.
“As we have seen in our own communities, the opioid epidemic has devastating consequences for families and individuals,” said Senator Mathews. “While there are many steps to go before solving this problem, this legislation directs resources to counties, families, and individuals struggling with the opioid crisis in Minnesota. Importantly, it maintains local flexibility in dealing with this issue and ensures physician and pharmacist discretion. Through a comprehensive approach, our goal is to save lives locally and across our state.”
After passing the Senate, the bill now heads to a conference committee with the House of Representatives where differences in the legislation passed by each respective body will be resolved.
Highlights of the legislation passed by the Senate include:
- Significant funding for county-administered social services to help kids who have been subjected to child abuse or neglect due to parental addiction.
- Stronger restrictions on opiate prescriptions and refills.
- Prescription monitoring program to prevent overprescribing and “doctor shopping.”
- Public awareness, prevention, and education programs.
- Statewide access to effective treatment and recovery services.
- Continuing education for opioid prescribers.
- Research and development of evidence-based treatment programs.
- Stronger reporting by pharmaceutical companies.