Gov. Baker unveils legislative package to combat opioid addiction crisis

Proposal includes plans for prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery

BOSTON (WWLP)—Governor Charlie Baker (R-Massachusetts) is filing new legislation to build upon current efforts to combat the opioid addiction crisis. The proposal includes prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery plans.

According to the Department of Public Health, Opioid overdose deaths are down by 10 percent in Massachusetts for the first nine months of the year. But with more than 1,400 opioid overdose deaths this year, top state leaders want to take further action.

Governor Baker unveiled a new package Tuesday that includes legislation, called the CARE Act, and administrative action to combat the opioid and heroin epidemic in Massachusetts.

“This package takes a targeted approach to increase access to treatment and recovery services, strengthen education and prevention efforts,” Baker said.

Baker said the package will include a proposal to set standards for providers and insurance companies, requiring they demonstrate they can treat people with substance use disorders before they can get a license.

“We must continue to double down our efforts to utilize data and best practices to inform our strategies and to combat stigma, social isolation, and the other consequences of this chronic disease,” Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders said.

Governor Baker also plans to send two letters to Washington this week, requesting more flexibility to dispense naloxone, approve new tools to detect fentayl and expand access to treatment. Governor Baker estimates the plan will have a net cost of $100 million to $120 million.