WNPR

Gov. Malloy Unveils "Common Sense Approach" To Curbing Opioid Addiction, Overdose

Jan 26, 2017

Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy unveiled on Thursday a series of measures aimed at combating and preventing opioid addiction. 

He called the proposals in his legislative package a "common sense approach" to reduce the potential for people becoming addicted and dying from an opioid overdose.

The way it works now, doctors must warn minors of the risk of addiction before prescribing them opioid painkillers. Under the governor's proposal, that warning will be expanded to adults, as well. Patients would be able to refuse opioid medications altogether under the proposed plan.

Also, doctors in Connecticut currently have the option of prescribing opioid painkillers to patients by paper or electronically. Malloy's proposal would require all opioids be prescribed electronically.

"A pad of paper doesn't come from a particular site. It is hard to trace," said Malloy. "If you do it electronically, you can instantaneously trace, and it's easier for us to document who is getting the drug, and who is prescribing the drug."

Citing a statistic that six out of 10 patients never finish their course of opioid painkillers, Malloy's proposal would allow registered home health care nurses the ability to destroy unused medication on behalf of their patient.

Current law only allows the patient or a legal caregiver to do so.

"That means there is a lot of product lying around in homes," Malloy said. "I think everybody who has had a family member involved in any form of addiction, they know that an easy way to find some of these substances are at someone else's house, in that cabinet that's in the bathroom, and suddenly they disappear."

The package also calls for the easing of restrictions to data sharing between state agencies as a way to "root out the bad players."

Malloy said the legislation will be filed in the coming days.

WNPR's Opioid Addiction Crisis Reporting Initiative is supported by Hartford HealthCare Behavioral Health Network's MATCH Program.