Governor Announces Opioid Addiction Package

At a press conference Tuesday, Governor Larry Hogan and Lieutenant Governor Boyd Rutherford announced a package of legislation addressing opioid addiction and overdoses.

The Cecil Whig reports:

The Prescriber Limits Act would prevent doctors from prescribing more than seven days worth of opioid painkillers during a patient’s first visit or consultation. The law exempts patients going through cancer treatment and those diagnosed with a terminal illness.

The Distribution of Opioids Resulting in Death Act would introduce a new felony charge carrying up to 30 years in prison for people convicted of illegally selling opioids or opioid analogues that result in the death of a user. Rutherford said the law would carry protections for people who were selling to support their addiction.

 And the Overdose Prevention Act authorizes the collection of and review of non-fatal overdose data and would make it easier for people to fill prescriptions for naloxone, a drug that can counteract the effects of an opioid overdose.

Rutherford also announced that the governor would sign an executive order that will create an Opioid Operations Command Center — a “virtual” task force charged with organizing training and funding for local anti-addiction teams as well as collecting data on opioid use and abuse.

Maryland remains in the grips of a heroin and opioid crisis. As previously reported on Conduit Street, overdose deaths in Maryland reached a new high in 2016 with more deaths during the first nine months of the year than of all of 2015.

Read the full article in The Cecil Whig to learn more.