New Mass. Opioid Overdose Data Underscores Need for Comprehensive Strategy to Combat Epidemic, Says Senator Markey

Lawmaker applauds new Obama administration efforts to combat prescription drug abuse and heroin use
 
Washington (October 21, 2015) – On the same day the Massachusetts Department of Public Health announced new data that shows the opioid overdose epidemic raging in Massachusetts without interruption in the first half of 2015, President Barak Obama today traveled to Charleston, West Virginia to announce new federal efforts to address prescription drug and heroin addiction. Preliminary data released today in Massachusetts show a significant increase in the first quarter of 2015 in the estimated number of overdose deaths of 414, up from 347 in the first quarter of 2014. President Obama announced a new effort to ensure that federal health care professionals will complete opioid prescriber training in the next two years. The President also announced an effort to direct federal agencies and contractors to conduct a review to identify barriers to medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorders and develop action plans to address these barriers.

Senator Markey has introduced the Safe Prescribing of Controlled Substances Act, which would require prescribers of opioid pain medications and other controlled substances to undergo mandatory training on safe prescribing practices and the identification of possible substance use disorders. Additionally, Senator Markey has introduced the Treatment and Recovery Investment Act to increase funding for states so they can better assist individuals with substance use disorders.
 
Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) released the following statement:
 
“Even as we strive to prevent new addictions and develop effective treatments, we cannot wait to reduce the harms of addiction now. We must take action to immediately slow the prescription drug and heroin epidemic and reduce the number of overdoses that is rising by the day in Massachusetts. We need to bring together science, medicine, law enforcement, families, survivors and public health to implement a comprehensive strategy to address this epidemic. I applaud President Obama for devoting much needed attention to this issue, and I will fight to make sure we devote the federal resources necessary to prevent and treat this crisis that continues to devastate our communities.”
 
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