March 15th 2016 BOSTON – State Representative David K. Muradian, Jr. (R-Grafton) was proud to stand with his colleagues at the State House to witness Governor Charlie Baker sign House Bill 4056, An act relative to substance use, treatment, education and prevention. The bill is a huge step in the fight against opiate use and abuse in the Commonwealth.
Later in the day, Rep. Muradian joined his Southern Worcester County colleagues Senator Ryan Fattman, Representative Joe McKenna, Representative Paul Frost, Representative Kevin Kuros and Representative Peter Durant, at Harrington Outpatient Rehabilitation Hospital in Webster to discuss the bill and what it means for Massachusetts. They also took the opportunity while at Hubbard to point out some of the people who are on the ground doing the work to combat this deadly problem every day.
“Facilities like Hubbard Rehab are where the effects of this new law will truly be felt,” stated Rep. Muradian. “The law that the Governor signed this morning is a tremendous leap forward in the battle against the terrible scourge of opiate abuse in the Commonwealth. I was proud to stand with my colleagues at this wonderful facility on this monumental day.”
The new law is designed to combat and prevent opioid dependence through many key provisions such as a limit on the amount of opioids that can be prescribed for acute care patients and an expansion of the Commonwealth’s Prescription Monitoring Program. The new law also requires that hospitals conduct a substance abuse evaluation within the first 24 hours of an individual being brought to an emergency room after suffering an overdose. The law also imposes a 7-day supply limit for adult patients who are prescribed an opiate for the first time, and caps all opiate prescriptions for minors at a 7-day supply.
The new law also:
- Gives patients the option of requesting a partial-fill prescription, or requesting in writing that they not be prescribed any opioid medications;
- Requires the Drug Formulary Commission to identify and publish a list of FDA-approved non-opioid drug products that provide an effective alternative for pain management, and to distribute this list to all prescribers and dispensers;
- Requires medical practitioners to receive training in effective pain management and the risks of abuse and addiction associated with opioid medication before obtaining or renewing their license;
- Mandates that pharmaceutical companies operating in Massachusetts maintain or participate in a drug stewardship program to collect and safely dispose of unwanted drugs; and
- Allows schools to utilize a confidential verbal screening tool to screen students for substance abuse disorders, which students can opt out of if their parents provide the school with prior written notification.
An average of four people die from an opioid overdose every single day in Massachusetts, and the Department of Public Health (DPH) has reported that 3 out of every 4 communities in the Commonwealth experienced at least one opioid-related overdose death between 2012 and 2014. This new law places an emphasis on treatment and prevention for addiction rather than punishment for abusers.
Any constituent who wishes to speak to Representative Muradian or his staff please call (617) 722-2240 or e-mail at David.Muradian@MAHouse.gov. Constituents should also visit www.davidmuradian.com for updates about the district and Rep. Muradian’s Office.