Senator Somers Works to Pass Opioid Legislation on Senate Floor

June 6, 2017

HARTFORD, Conn. – Today State Senator Heather Somers (R-Groton), Co-Chair of the Public Health Committee hailed the final passage of HB 7052, An Act Preventing Prescription Opioid Diversion and Abuse.

“I am thrilled to report that the Senate has passed legislation which directly addresses opioid abuse,” said Sen. Somers. “This bill is a result of many long hours and a great deal of hard-work – specifically within the Public Health Committee. I would like to extend a humble thank you to the entire Public Health Committee delegation, the Connecticut Office of Policy and Management, the Connecticut Hospital Association, the Connecticut Insurance Department, the Regional Mental Health Agencies and many other individuals who contributed to crafting this bill, I would like to thank them for all of their hard-work and dedication on this essential bipartisan legislation which strives to save lives.”

“Opioid addiction is a heart-breaking crisis that troubles many communities throughout Southeastern Connecticut. This legislation works to limit access to controlled substances and endeavors to create awareness about opioid addiction,” said Sen. Somers.

The bill makes several changes to prevent and treat opioid drug abuse, including:

  • Requiring individual and group health insurers to cover medically necessary detox treatments
  • Requiring a treatment facility to use admissions criteria developed by the American Society of Addiction Medicine, which urges admission regardless of health status or addiction levels
  • Limiting access to controlled substances by allowing certain registered nurses employed by home health care agencies to destroy or dispose of them
  • Requiring practitioners, when prescribing opioids, to discuss with all patients, rather than only minors, the risks associated with opioid drug use
  • The bill reduces, from a seven day supply to a five day supply, the maximum amount of an opioid drug a practitioner may prescribe to a minor
  • The bill requires prescriptions for controlled substances to be electronically transmitted – with a few exceptions including if the prescriber demonstrates that they do not have the technological capacity
  • The bill also creates a standing order – a non-patient specific prescription to licensed pharmacists to prescribe Naloxone

“This is a huge bill,” said Sen. Somers. “It does a great number of things to combat our opioid crisis here in Connecticut and I am proud of the work that was done to get this through the legislative process.”

After passing unanimously out of the Senate, HB 7052 now heads to the governor’s desk and awaits his signature.

“All-in-all it works to educate and bring awareness to the dangers of opioid abuse and addiction. At the end of the day this bill takes important steps to protect our communities, our families and our children against opioid addiction,” said Sen. Somers.