Opioid Legislation On Hold Until Fall

While major progress has been made on two important initiatives intended to address the opioid abuse crisis, both ran into last minute snags during the late June budget crunch, and final passage will likely not occur until the fall.

Efforts to enact legislation establishing a statewide controlled substance database are oh-so-close to bearing fruit, though a couple issues remain to be resolved.  As reported earlier, the House of Representatives passed House Bill 1694 back on Oct. 21, 2013, by a vote of 191-7, and on May 6, 2014, the Senate passed its own version, Senate Bill 1180, 47-2.  It now seems clear that the Senate bill will be the measure that reaches the finish line, and for a while it looked like the bill would reach the Governor’s desk in June.  However, a proposed House amendment to the Senate bill allowing non-addictive, rarely-abused drugs to be excluded from the database met unexpected last minute resistance, leading to a decision to try to work things out over the summer.

 Also awaiting final action in September is legislation providing Good Samaritan protection to persons aiding the victim of a drug overdose.  Senate Bill 1164 also contains important provisions authorizing the prescribing of Naloxone to first responders like policemen and firefighters, as well as to friends and family members of persons at risk of experiencing a drug overdose.  The bill is in position to be approved quickly, but apparently got tangled up in the June state budget negotiations and will likely not be considered until September.

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