The Opioid and Other Substance Use Disorders Study Committee has released a summary of bills they recommend for introduction in the 2020 legislative session to address the opioid epidemic. The five bills build on the committee’s work from the last two legislative sessions, with this year’s bills aiming to improve services related to prevention, harm reduction and treatment of substance use disorders, as well as provide support for criminal justice response and support services for recovery for individuals with an opioid or other substance use disorder. Importantly, the bills include recommended amendments from the CMS Committee on Prescription Drug Abuse.
Pain specialist Johnathan Clapp, MD, told 9News there has been an evolution in the focus of the bills coming out of the legislature. “The original bills the first couple of years from the Opioid Interim Committee were designed to save lives. They were set up so they could catch people [who] were addicted from overdosing and try to save them. Now the process is, we have a lot of those safeguards in place and what we are really trying to do now is prevent the flow, in a sense turn off the faucet, so we don't have to catch as many people downstream and limit as many exposures as we can.”
The interim committee will present the bills to the Legislative Council on Friday for approval for the bills to be introduced in January.