On International Overdose Awareness Day, State Senator Toni Boucher (R-26) called for awareness of the challenges faced by addicts and their families as state officials and the medical community seek solutions to the state’s opioid crisis. She will attend the Helping Each Other Heal vigil and remembrance ceremony tonight in New Canaan’s Pop-Up Park.
“On Monday, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner reported that 539 fatal overdoses occurred in the first half of this year in Connecticut. With nearly three deaths every day, overdose deaths are now the main cause of death for adults in our state,” Sen. Boucher said. “Today, the Governor signed into law an opioid bill that received unanimous legislative support. While it provides the medical community and others with more tools to combat the opioid crisis, more solutions are still needed.”
Sen. Boucher said events like the one in New Canaan and others being held throughout the state help to raise awareness of addiction and show how wide-spread the problem is.
“We need to bring addiction out of the shadows and address it as the public health crisis that it is,” she said. “Addiction to opioids may often start with a legal prescription or use of other drugs. The people who are addicted span all ages and all walks of life. It’s not helpful to judge those addicted to powerful drugs. They need intervention and they need help.”
Some of the provisions of Public Act 17-131, An Act Preventing Prescription Opioid Diversion and Abuse, include:
- requiring an electronic prescription from a doctor to receive opioids to curtail the use of stolen prescription pads
- monitoring of prescriptions issued state-wide
- allowing health care workers to dispose of patients’ controlled substances to reduce unauthorized use of the drug
- allowing patients to request a non-opioid medication and the ability to sign documents preventing doctors from giving them opioids
- requiring insurance to cover medically necessary addiction treatments
“Too many families have lost children, parents, and even grandparents to opioid addiction,” Sen. Boucher said. “We must continue to search for solutions, as well as offer our support for addicts and their families. Together, we can defeat this crisis.”
State Senator Boucher represents the communities of Bethel, New Canaan, Redding, Ridgefield, Weston, Westport, and Wilton.