SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Governor Baker is expected to sign a bill Monday that aims to combat the state’s opiate epidemic.
We’ve been following the opiate crisis in Massachusetts for years now, and one of the most common themes that we hear about is an addiction that starts with prescription pills before moving onto heroin.
Lawmakers hope this bill could help prevent that.
The legislation would add new restrictions to prescription pain pills. There would be a seven-day limit on first-time opiate prescriptions, and patients would only be able to fill part of their prescription at a time.
The bill would also require medical professionals to have substance abuse training.
The Senate added a more controversial provision, that would require school districts to verbally screen students for signs of drug use.
It doesn’t specify which grades would get screened, but a woman from Springfield told 22News she’d want it to start as early as middle school. “I think that would be a good idea because just the way things are nowadays, there are a lot of middle schooler’s using drugs. I think it’s necessary,” said Natalie Roman of Springfield.
Other people disagree, and have voiced opposition against the screening provision.
That part of the bill is subject to appropriation, which means it won’t happen if the state doesn’t have enough money for it.
The bill is a compromise between the Governor’s original proposals, and lawmakers proposals.