State Senate Passes CARE Act Legislation in Effort to Combat Opioid Crisis

BOSTON – State Sen. Ryan Fattman (R-Sutton) voted in support of legislation designed to help alleviate the growing epidemic of opiate addiction in Massachusetts. Known as the CARE Act, the bill improves access to evidence-based treatment, and expands education and prevention efforts to address opiate abuse.

BOSTON – State Sen. Ryan Fattman (R-Sutton) voted in support of legislation designed to help alleviate the growing epidemic of opiate addiction in Massachusetts. Known as the CARE Act, the bill improves access to evidence-based treatment, and expands education and prevention efforts to address opiate abuse.

Major parts of the bill increased access to medication assisted treatment, increased school-based programs on substance abuse, and mandated prescription practice improvements. The bill also establishes a human service workers loan repayment program, and expands the range of medical professionals who can perform evaluations in order to help meet the needs of those seeking help.

The CARE Act is a great initiative designed to help combat the opioid addiction crisis, and I hope this is a right step in helping those who need it and provides the resources to do that,” Fattman said.

Also initially included in the bill was a supervised injection site program that would have allowed the injection of Class A drugs such as heroine and fentanyl. Fattman worked to remove the program from the bill citing serious concerns about openly allowing the use of illicit drugs.

I will not support allowing supervised injection of Class A narcotics at a time when we are trying to break the scourge of addiction,” he said. “The proposal is counter intuitive and directly contests the efforts of myself and other officials in the district who all helped secure funding for opioid addiction services.”

Over five deaths a day took place in Massachusetts due to opiate overdoses last year alone. Despite this, efforts by the Massachusetts legislature to stem the tide of addiction have begun to show traction.

Opioid-related overdose deaths fell by 8 percent according to the Department of Public Health (DPH). The reduction in deaths is partially accredited to the widespread use of the life-saving drug Naloxone, commonly known as “Narcan,” which blocks the effects of opioids and reverses an opioid overdose.

Under the legislation, the DPH is directed to issue a statewide standing order authorizing every pharmacy in the state to dispense naloxone, eliminating the current requirement that each pharmacy obtain an individual authorization. Additionally, the bill brings Massachusetts in line with other states by providing liability protections, including protection from criminal or civil liability, for practitioners who prescribe and pharmacists who dispense naloxone in good faith.


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