Conn. governor signs opioid bill into law

The law allows nurses to destroy unused prescription medication and increases data sharing between agencies about overdose and abuse

By Nicholas Rondinone
The Hartford Courant

HARTFORD, Conn. — Gov. Dannel P. Malloy signed into law Friday a new piece of legislation aimed at tackling the opioid crisis that's claiming hundreds of lives a year in Connecticut.

This legislation, which was passed with strong support, includes a number of varied measures and is the latest in successive years to address the crisis.

"Opioid addiction and prescription drug abuse is a disease that is impacting nearly every community and people of every background," Malloy said in a statement. . "It is a complex crisis that does not have one root cause, nor does it have simple solution, but we need to do everything in our power to 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."

Among the measures in the bill, An Act Preventing Prescription Opioid Diversion and Abuse, is an effort to increas data sharing between agencies about opioid abuse and overdose deaths.

The law would also allow registered nurses employed by home health care agencies to destroy unused prescription medications.

The law includes measures that would increase security of prescriptions by requiring electronic prescribing, allow patients to file forms indicating they don't want opioids and expanding the requirements about information shared about risks and signs of addiction.

In 2016, the governor signed into law legislation that would cap the initial prescription of opioids for acute pain to seven days. This law would bring that down to five days for minors, lawmakers said.

This new law would also require insurers to cover medically necessary detox.

"By engaging providers and strengthening partnerships, this bill continues progress to curb the opioid epidemic – and prevent new victims," Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman said in a statement. "It is part of a bigger strategy to address addiction and recovery so our residents can live healthier, more productive lives. I applaud the Governor and the legislature for their commitment to a healthier state."

Copyright 2017 The Hartford Courant

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