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Gov. Baker signs opioid bill

Governor Charlie Baker was recently joined by members of the Administration, the Legislature and the health care community for the ceremonial signing of H4742, An Act for prevention and access to appropriate care and treatment of addiction, at the STEPRox Recovery Support Center in Boston.

“The opioid and heroin crisis has tragically claimed scores of lives and broken families across the Commonwealth, and this new bill will serve as our latest tool kit to address the public health crisis through increased access to treatment, education and prevention,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “While there is still much work to do, this bipartisan bill will support the fight against this horrible epidemic by holding providers more accountable for prescribing practices, taking stronger steps to intervene earlier in a person’s life, and expanding access to recovery coaches.”

“We have gained valuable insight from families, individuals with substance use disorders, providers, recovery coaches, and first responders into what it takes to effectively address the opioid crisis,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “That insight has helped us tailor our policies to better address the epidemic on the ground, so we are grateful to the Legislature and members of the treatment and recovery communities for standing alongside us today as we build on the Commonwealth’s existing framework to protect more families from being impacted by this horrible epidemic.”

“Every individual with a substance use or co-occurring illness in the Commonwealth should have access to quality treatment and the opportunity to live a long and healthy life. Addiction is a disease, and we must continue to break down the stigma that prevents individuals from seeking or receiving help,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders. “This bill takes aim at ensuring people get the treatment they need, where and when they need it, through a multi-year, comprehensive strategy. I am proud to stand with my colleagues in the treatment and recovery community and the Legislature today.”

“Today Massachusetts builds on its national leadership role in the fight against the opioid epidemic with a third package of comprehensive legislation to address the disease of addiction,” said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo, (D – Winthrop). “Our continued focus on prevention, treatment and behavioral health will save lives and help individuals and communities heal.”

“This legislation is an important next step in the Commonwealth’s continuing commitment to fighting the opioid epidemic on multiple fronts, in order to ultimately help our friends and neighbors who are suffering,” said Senate President Karen Spilka (D-Ashland). “I am particularly proud that this bill seeks to address the areas where mental health and substance misuse overlap, as addiction is often the result of unmet mental health needs.”

“With this legislation, Massachusetts continues its national leadership in combatting the disease of addiction and the opioid epidemic” said Representative Denise C. Garlick (D-Needham), House Chair of the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery. “It lays the foundation for a 21st century behavioral health system and puts in place strong prevention measures that will help stop this crisis from spreading to future generations and strengthens the providers abilities to expand treatment to help individuals, families and communities that are struggling with this disease.”

“Despite efforts to suppress the opioid crisis, families across the Commonwealth continue to lose their loved ones to substance use disorder,” said Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington), Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery. “This legislation represents a major step forward in our efforts to combat this devastating disease."

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