Thursday, February 04, 2016
Governor’s Proposal Expands State’s Efforts to Combat Opioid Epidemic
(HARTFORD, CT) - Governor Dannel P. Malloy today announced that in order to continue the state's efforts to combat opioid overdoses, he has filed legislation aimed at increasing access to the overdose reversing drug naloxone for both first responders and citizens who want to purchase the medication.
"Addiction is a public health issue and a disease and our laws need to reflect that. Connecticut is taking a stand against a nationwide prescription opioid and heroin overdose epidemic. These are commonsense improvements that we can make today that will save lives tomorrow," Governor Malloy said. "We are committed to fighting this epidemic, and in yet another session, we are taking action."
The legislation, House Bill 5053 - An Act Increasing Access to Overdose Reversal Drugs, will require that municipalities update their existing emergency medical services plan to ensure that the primary emergency response provider on the scene of an emergency call is equipped with and prepared to administer naloxone and has been appropriately trained to do so.
In addition, the legislation will prohibit commercial health carriers from requiring prior authorization for coverage of naloxone. Although no commercial health plans currently require prior authorization, the imposition of such a requirement could pose a significant barrier to individuals requesting the drug.
"Expanding access to life-saving treatment is the right thing to do," Lt. Governor Wyman said. "Addiction can tear apart lives. Government can and should take these steps to help these families and their loved ones survive an overdose and get the treatment they need to recover."
To date, Connecticut State Police Troopers have saved 63 lives by utilizing a state law adopted in 2014 that authorizes anyone to administer an opioid antagonist to a person he or she believes, in good faith, is experiencing an opioid-related drug overdose. Previously, only licensed health care practitioners were allowed to administer the medication without being civilly or criminally liable for the action. Following the law's adoption, all Connecticut State Police Troopers completed a training program providing them with the skills to administer the medication.
Since 2011, Governor Malloy introduced and signed into law several new measures that position Connecticut as a leader in the fight to prevent substance abuse and opioid overdose. Those include:
Any potential fiscal impact of House Bill 5053 on municipalities is expected to be minor - many towns and cities already have first responders equipped with naloxone. For those who will need to purchase the lifesaving medication, there are currently kits available that cost $35 a dose, not an overly burdensome cost.