Senator Markey Commends Governor Patrick’s Efforts to Combat Prescription Drug and Heroin Abuse

Markey released three-pronged approach to prevent opioid overdoses, including introduction of ‘Good Samaritan’ legislation to protect individuals who administer overdose prevention treatment

 

Washington (March 27, 2014) -- Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) today commended Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick’s declaration of a public health emergency in response to the epidemic of prescription drug and heroin abuse. 

Senator Markey recently convened roundtables throughout the Commonwealth to bring together federal, state and local leaders, treatment providers and first responders to address the opiate drug epidemic. At these roundtables, Senator Markey discussed his three-pronged plan to confront this devastating public health crisis, calling for 1) expansion of naloxone programs for first responders and bystanders, 2) greater access to proven addiction treatments, and 3) modernizing America’s addiction treatment system. 

 

“I applaud Governor Patrick for this effort to protect the people of Massachusetts from the scourge of prescription drug abuse. This public health emergency requires urgent action at the local, state and federal levels,” said Senator Markey. “The recent roundtables I have held around the state have made clear that there is no one solution to cure this problem. We need to bring together science, medicine, public health and law enforcement to comprehensively address this epidemic tearing our families and neighborhoods apart. It is our moral responsibility to respond immediately to the epidemic of heroin and prescription drug abuse, and I will continue to fight for the resources necessary to interrupt the cycle of addiction and help heal our communities.”

 

Earlier this month, Senator Markey introduced S. 2092, The Opioid Overdose Reduction Act, legislation that would protect individuals who administer lifesaving opioid overdose prevention drugs. The legislation will ensure that individuals who have been properly trained and who administer an opioid prevention drug such as naloxone are protected from civil liability. The bill also ensures that health care professionals who prescribe an opioid overdose drug to a person at risk of overdose or a third party, such as a family member of an abuser, are not liable for civil suits.

Additionally, as part of his push to reduce barriers to the approval of new drugs for addiction, Senator Markey called on the Food and Drug Administration to engage researchers, addiction treatment leaders, and drug developers to develop and approve new therapies that will reduce drug use, as well as reduce the harms associated with it.