By Bob Katzen
The Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery held a hearing on some 30 pieces of legislation offering a wide range of possible solutions to the state’s opioid crisis that claims an average of five lives per day. One of the bills would require all first responders to carry the overdose-reversal medication naloxone (H 1747). “No family should have to watch a loved one die in front of them, in front of a first responder, waiting for Narcan to show up,” said the bill’s sponsor Rep. Smitty Pignatelli (D-Lenox).
A bill sponsored by Rep. Liz Malia (D-Boston) would increase from 14 days to 30 days the number of days private insurance companies are required to cover addiction treatment (H 1732). “While our fatal overdose numbers have thankfully declined by 11 percent in Massachusetts, according to the data just released, people are still dying,” said Malia.
Another measure would create campaigns to increase students’ awareness about substance use and inform students about a current state law that grants legal immunity to individuals who call for help when they overdose (S 1162).