FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- To continue the state’s efforts to combat opioid overdoses, Gov. Dannel Malloy said Thursday he has filed legislation aimed at increasing access to the overdose-reversing drug naloxone for first responders and for citizens who want to purchase the medication.
“Addiction is a public health issue and a disease and our laws need to reflect that," Malloy said. "Connecticut is taking a stand against a nationwide prescription opioid and heroin overdose epidemic. These are commonsense improvements that we can make today that will save lives tomorrow.
"We are committed to fighting this epidemic.”
The legislation, House Bill 5053 – An Act Increasing Access to Overdose Reversal Drugs, would require that municipalities update their emergency medical services plans to ensure that the primary emergency responders are equipped with and prepared to administer naloxone and have been trained to do so.
In addition, the legislation would prohibit commercial health carriers from requiring prior authorization for coverage of naloxone. Although no commercial health plans currently require prior authorization, the imposition of such a requirement could pose a significant barrier to use of the drug.
“Expanding access to life-saving treatment is the right thing to do,” Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman said. “Addiction can tear apart lives. Government can and should take these steps to help these families and their loved ones survive an overdose and get the treatment they need to recover.”
To date, Connecticut State Police Troopers have saved 63 lives through a state law adopted in 2014 that authorizes anyone to administer an opioid antagonist to a person he or she believes, in good faith, is experiencing an opioid-related drug overdose.
Previously, only licensed health care practitioners were allowed to administer the medication without being civilly or criminally liable for the action. If the law is adopted, all Connecticut State Police Troopers would complete a training program providing them with the skills to administer the medication.
Since 2011, Malloy introduced and signed into law several new measures that position Connecticut as a leader in the fight to prevent substance abuse and opioid overdose.
Any potential fiscal impact of House Bill 5053 on municipalities is expected to be minor – many towns and cities already have first responders equipped with naloxone.
For those who will need to purchase the lifesaving medication, kits are available for $35 a dose.
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