August 31, 2017

Sen. Heather Somers (at podium) speaks during the ceremonial signing of An Act Preventing Prescription Opioid Diversion and Abuse as Gov. Dannel P. Malloy (left) and U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (right) listen.

HARTFORD, Conn. – Today State Senator Heather Somers (R-Groton) attended a ceremonial signing of Public Act 17-131, An Act Preventing Prescription Opioid Diversion and Abuse.

(Video of Sen. Somers’ remarks: )

“On the day that we observe International Overdose Awareness Day, I was happy to join my fellow lawmakers at the ceremonial signing of this important legislation,” said Sen. Somers. “Opioid addiction is a heart-breaking crisis that is impacting towns and cities across our state, and we must take steps to help resolve it.

“This legislation is the result of a great deal of hard-work in the Public Health Committee, it endeavors to limit access to controlled substances and works to create awareness about opioid addiction,” said Sen. Somers. “As the chair of the Public Health Committee, I listened to many Connecticut residents testify about how opioid addiction has impacted them and their loved ones, I am pleased that we can take steps to help them.”

The legislation, Public Act 17-131, 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
  • NewSomers2017-08-31BillSigningPA17-131OpioidAbuse%2...

    Sen. Heather Somers (left) talks with City of Groton Police Lt. Eric Jenkins (right) prior to the start of ceremonial signing of An Act Preventing Prescription Opioid Diversion and Abuse.

“At the end of the day we all need to work together to create awareness about opioid addiction and abuse – we need to talk to our children, our family and our neighbors about the dangers associated with these prescription drugs,” said Sen. Somers. “This legislation takes important steps to educate our communities about the risks of opioid abuse. I was happy to work on this bill throughout the committee process, thrilled to vote in favor of the legislation on the Senate floor and pleased to participate in the ceremonial signing of the bill today.”