Mass. House gives opioid bill initial approval

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STATE HOUSE — The Massachusetts House on Wednesday morning gave initial approval to a bill aimed at reducing opioid abuse and deaths, setting the stage for consideration in the afternoon of nearly 80 amendments.

Aimed at curbing substance abuse and making addiction treatment easier to access, the bill sets a seven-day limit on new opiate prescriptions, requires doctors to crosscheck the state’s prescription monitoring program database before prescribing any opioids, and requires schools to develop substance abuse education programs.

House Democrats were meeting in a private midday caucus prior to the afternoon portion of the session.

Representatives have amendments to address the supply limit for first-time opiate prescriptions, and to put a sunset clause on that limit.

The bill is expected to clear the House, and will likely be merged with a Senate bill by a six-member conference committee.

“I think we’ll be able to send a really terrific bill to the governor,” Senate President Stanley Rosenberg told the News Service Wednesday.

The legislation will have a “portfolio” of tools, he said, adding: “I hope we can move quickly. Every day that goes by people are at risk.”

— Written by Katie Lannan and Andy Metzger

Copyright State House News Service