Opioid bill passing through state legislative committee

The bill must pass through two committees before debate in the House.

BOSTON- State House News Service – An opioid abuse prevention bill tagged for debate by House Speaker Robert DeLeo later this month is moving through the Heath Care Financing Committee just eight days after House chairman Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez received the bill from another committee.

Sanchez said the bill (H 3926) is currently being polled in the committee without any changes from the version released by the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Committee on Dec. 30. Members have until 10 a.m. on Thursday to vote electronically to recommend the legislation, which will also have to go to House Ways and Means for review and possible revisions before emerging on the House floor for a debate. DeLeo has said he hopes the House can vote on the legislation before the end of January.

The bill, among its many provisions, would limit first-time patients to a seven-day supply of opioid medication and require substance abuse evaluations before overdose patients are discharged. “We spent a little time on it in the committee and a number of advocates talked to us and celebrated provisions of the bill, and we want to move this forward as quickly as possible,” Sanchez told the News Service Wednesday morning. Sanchez said in addition to the opioid bill the Legislature will have a chance during budget debates this spring “to have a conversation about resources and what else we need to do to support this legislation.”

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