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AG Jepsen Joins Colleagues in Urging Passage of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2015

Would Address Nationwide Epidemic of Heroin and Opioid Addiction and Abuse

September 29, 2015

Attorney General Jepsen has joined attorneys general from 36 other states and the District of Columbia in sending a letter to the leadership of the Committee on the Judiciary for the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives urging passage of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2015 (S. 524/HR 953). The proposed law would provide states with important tools to be more effective in confronting the growing challenge of heroin and opioid abuse and addiction.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drug overdoses now surpass automobile accidents as the leading cause of injury-related death for Americans between the ages of 25 and 64.  More than 100 Americans die as a result of overdose in this country every day – more than half of them caused by prescription opioids or heroin.

Prescription painkiller abuse is a growing problem in Connecticut, as fatal opioid overdoses have increased annually from 174 deaths in 2012, to 257 in 2013 and 307 in 2014.

“While addiction is treatable, very few of those needing effective treatment are actually receiving it,” said Attorney General Jepsen. “In order to begin to turn the tide on the epidemic of opioid abuse, we must improve access to addiction treatment and recovery support nationally.”

 “Law enforcement has always been on the frontline when it comes to drug crises, but we cannot arrest ourselves out of this current epidemic," the attorneys general wrote in their letter to committee leadership. "Research shows the best way to address this challenge is through a strategy that includes prevention, law enforcement, reduction of overdose deaths, evidence-based treatment, and support for those in, or seeking, recovery."

The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2015 would expand prevention and educational efforts aimed at teens, parents and aging populations to proactively prevent the abuse of opioids and heroin. The proposed law would promote treatment and recovery for those suffering from addiction.

In addition, the act would expand the availability of naloxone, also known as Narcan, to law enforcement agencies and first responders in order to help reverse overdoses and save lives. The availability of disposal sites for unwanted prescription medications would be expanded in order to keep unused pharmaceutical drugs out of the hands of children and adolescents, and prescription drug monitoring programs would be strengthened to help states track prescription drug diversion and help at-risk individuals access services.

Just last week, Attorney General Jepsen reached out to Amphastar , the manufacturer of Narcan, to express concerns about the rapidly rising price of the life-saving medication, and to open a dialogue to explore means for Connecticut's first responders to obtain it at lower cost (a copy of his letter to Amphastar is available here).

Please click here to view the letter.


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