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Massachusetts’ lawmakers vote to advance bill to curb opioid crisis

In an effort to curb the worsening opioid epidemic, Massachusetts’ lawmakers have voted to forward a bill, which will make addiction treatment services more accessible and widen the scope of prevention efforts. Led by the Office of Health and Human Services, the state’s Legislature’s Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery voted on May 3, 2018, to forward a redraft of Gov. Charlie Baker’s bill (H 4033) proposed in November 2017. Though the proposed bill has not been approved, the House of Senate is expected to debate its financial planning later this month.

The proposed bill would allow state health care professionals to treat individuals for up to three days if their addiction to alcohol or drugs is deemed dangerous. It will also allow the state to set up several commissions to work toward improving prevention and treatment mechanisms for individuals with both substance use and mental health disorders. The bill would additionally create a commission to study the use of methadone and other opioid-addiction medicine in correctional facilities. If approved, people can have wider access to Narcan as it will be made available at the pharmacies. It would also allow hospitals to administer anti-opioid treatments to those in need. Furthermore, the bill would empower patients to partially fill their narcotics prescriptions and then go back to a pharmacy to refill the remainder.

The bill would also allow emergency rooms (ERs) to provide medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for an overdose. MAT is considered to be one of the most popular ways of treating substance use disorders (SUDs) and preventing an overdose. It involves the use of FDA-approved medications along with counseling and behavioral therapies. However, the bill does not approve MAT for people who are incarcerated. It also does not mention the provision for safe-injection sites or safe/supervised injection facilities (SIFs). Such individuals may still be required to seek drug abuse rehabilitation programs at good addiction facilities.

Opioid-related fatalities on a record high

According to a March 2018 survey by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, MA residents rated the opioid crisis as the worst problem overpowering other statewide issues such as health care costs, jobs as well as the economy. While more than a quarter of residents know about someone who has died due to an opioid overdose or have themselves lost a loved one, rural communities feel particularly vulnerable. More than seven in 10 residents call it a “very serious problem.” In 2017, opioid-related overdoses were responsible for 1,501 fatalities in MA with the state’s Department of Public Health (DPH) estimating there to be an additional 433 to 518 fatalities.

The state of opioid crisis is so severe that it has prompted the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to release additional funding to three states badly hit by it. The agency has planned to release one-year funding of $333,000 each to West Virginia, New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

Recovery from addiction

Overcoming drug addiction is far difficult than imagined. A person needs to realize that life is a beautiful gift which should not be wasted in abusing drugs. Loved ones should be aware of the side effects of addiction and seeking professional help is no shame, considering that a person is getting a chance to reclaim his/her life. Taking just one step towards treatment matters for whole life.

At the 24/7 Recovery Helpline, we can help you learn more about drug addiction, recognize its symptoms and locate the best residential drug treatment program suited to your needs. Whatever your concern, you can reach our team via phone call or live chat. For more information on some the renowned residential drug rehab centers, call us at our 24/7 helpline (855) 441-4405 or chat online.

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