BOSTON (WWLP) – The heroin and prescription drug crisis is not slowing down anytime soon. Governor Charlie Baker is urging lawmakers to act before more people die from a drug overdose.
“The clock is ticking. Every day that goes by, another four people die here in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,” said Gov. Baker. He is putting pressure on state lawmakers to slow or stop the alarming rise in opioid overdose deaths.
The Governor, the House and the Senate all have their own ideas for a solution. It’s been more than a month since a six-member conference committee was created to hammer out the differences.
State Rep. Joe Wagner, (D) Chicopee, said, “When you’re trying to craft public policy that makes sense, different people can have different viewpoints. We don’t want to get this wrong. We want to get it right.”
The Governor’s proposal is the most controversial. He wants to give emergency room doctors the right to commit addicts to a treatment center to up to three days if they pose a danger to themselves or to others.
Several House and Senate lawmakers believe the “involuntary commitment” is too extreme. They’re also considering a supply limit on first-time opioid prescriptions.
Warren State Representative Todd Smola told 22News differences aside, the House and Senate will have to work together to reach an agreement. “The House and Senate have to reach consensus on virtually everything that happens in those two different versions of legislation, so you know it’s a give and take process.”
Nearly 800 Massachusetts residents died of an accidental drug overdose between January and September of last year. The Governor said he hopes to sign a drug addiction prevention bill into law by the end of March.