Gov. Malloy releases proposals to fight opioid addiction in CT - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Gov. Malloy releases proposals to fight opioid addiction in CT

Posted: Updated:
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy  announced a series of proposals to help fight opioid addiction in Connecticut. (WFSB) Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced a series of proposals to help fight opioid addiction in Connecticut. (WFSB)

The governor announced a series of proposals to help fight opioid addiction in Connecticut.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy "unveiled a package of statutory reforms he is proposing that focus on efforts to reduce the potential for people to become addicted to opioid medications that could cause a life-threatening overdose." 

Malloy said every municipality in Connecticut "has been touched in some way by substance abuse – and in particular the growing prescription pain killer epidemic." 

"Our local communities are no exception. This is a complex crisis that does not have one root cause, nor does it have a simple solution,” Malloy said. 

The following items are in the proposed reforms: 

  • Requiring Electronic Prescriptions: Facilitating in the Destruction of Unused Medication: Under current law, only the person prescribed medication or their legal caregivers can dispose of unused medication, including after the patient has died. The Governor is proposing to expand this ability to home health care agency registered nurses. This will ensure that unused medication is not sitting in medicine cabinets, and fits well with the “Mind Your Meds” movement promoted by state agencies, which encourages the proper destruction of unused medications through means such as a drop box program.
  • Allowing Patients to Refuse Opioids through a Directive: The Governor is proposing to allow patients to include in their personal medical files a form indicating that they do not want to be prescribed or receive opioid medication.
  • Expand the Requirement to Provide Information about the Risk of Addiction to Adults: Currently, prescribers are required to share information on the risk of addiction when prescribing opioids to minors. The Governor is proposing to expand that requirement to include adults in order to increase the communication between prescribers and patients, ensuring that all patients have the information they need when taking potentially addictive medications.
  • Encourage Data Sharing Among State Agencies: The Governor is proposing to ease statutory restrictions on data sharing between state agencies. This concept was widely discussed in both the Alcohol and Drug Policy Council's final report and Yale's report that the Governor commissioned. Increased data sharing across state agencies would better help the state track trends, determine the effectiveness of the current allocation of resources, and create a more comprehensive system for tracking this epidemic.

“Addiction is a disease, and together we can treat and prevent it. Our work on this front will not be finished until our communities and our families are no longer struggling with the grave costs of this illness,” Malloy said. 

Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services Commissioner Miriam Delphin-Rittmon said "nearly half of all opioid-related deaths in our country involve prescription painkillers."

"While prescription painkillers have a place in treating patients experiencing pain, it’s important that they are prescribed responsibly and safely stored,” Delphin-Rittmon said. “By taking steps to safeguard access to these medications, we are not only helping to prevent prescription painkillers from falling into the wrong hands, but we’re also helping to prevent addiction.”

Department of Consumer Protection Commissioner Jonathan A. Harris said that opioid abuse and addiction has become "deeply personal for too many families and communities in Connecticut." 

"There’s not one way to fight the opioid crisis, and we can only make progress by enacting common sense remedies that attack the problem from many directions,” Harris said. “The proposals Governor Malloy is raising this year, like the many efforts he has championed in past legislative sessions, are a priority of the Department of Consumer Protection’s Drug Control Division, and we’re committed to help build support for these new initiatives that will provide more ways to prevent families from suffering.”

Malloy's proposals will be filed in the coming days. 

Copyright 2017 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.