July 18 2018

Rep. Gordon Joins House Colleagues in Support of Addiction Resources Act

By: John Viaes

Earlier this week, State Representative Ken Gordon joined his colleagues in favor of passing a bill to engage the opioid epidemic.

The House approved the Comprehensive Addiction Resources Emergency (CARE) Act, addressing the issue of opioid addiction in the state of Massachusetts. The CARE Act includes a number of provisions to improve the treatment of opioid addiction and prevent drug abuse. The bill includes prescription reforms to help officials better supervise opioid use, and increases access to anti-opioid overdose drugs such as Naloxone or Narcan.

“This bill with help our residents battling opioid addiction, and keep these dangerous drugs out of the reach of our families,” Rep. Gordon said.

Prescription opioids used for pain relief are generally safe when taken for a short time as prescribed by a doctor, but they can be misused. People misuse prescription opioids by taking the medicine in a way or dose other than prescribed, taking someone else’s prescription medicine, or taking the medicine for the effect it causes to get high, says a June 2018 article from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Opioids are a class of drugs that include illegal drugs including heroin, synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, and pain relievers available legally by prescription, such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and morphine to name a few. According a March 2018 article from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than 115 people in the United States die per day after overdosing on opioids. The current rash of opioid misuse began in the late 1990’s, and overdose rates began to increase in 2015. An estimated 2 million people in the country, this year, suffer from substance abuse related to opioid pain relievers. Massachusetts was among the top ten states with the highest rates of opioid-related overdose deaths.

One way the bill will help keep opioids off the street is to require pharmacies to adhere to consumer requests for partial prescriptions, the release states.

“I heard from a constituent who told me he wanted just three or four tablets out of a prescription for 40 following surgery, because he didn’t think he needed that many,” Gordon said. “The Pharmacy could not provide a partial fill. If he didn’t want all of the tablets, he could take fewer, but the remainder of the prescription would be cancelled, and if it turned out he needed more he would have to obtain a new prescription and pay another co-pay. I learned this practice is widespread and unacceptable.”


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