Massachusetts Medical Society: Dr. Chaoui, MMS react to opioid legislation

Dr. Chaoui, MMS react to opioid legislation

“The Massachusetts Medical Society is grateful for the opportunity to have worked with both the House and the Senate on Gov. Baker’s CARE bill, and we appreciate the governor’s continued support, leadership and commitment to saving lives. Throughout the process, Gov. Baker and the Legislature struck a balance between the urgent need to propose and advance solutions to curtail the opioid crisis, and ensuring that those solutions remain thoughtful, measured and evidence-based.

“We are pleased that included are provisions strengthening the statewide standing order for naloxone, funding for physician education relative to opioid use disorder and pain management and improving the effectiveness of the partial-fill of prescription opioids.  Likewise, we commend the Legislature for its efforts to avoid potential pitfalls related to electronic prescribing of opioids by allowing for flexibility in situations where outdated federal regulations create logistical hurdles.

“Evidence shows opioid-related overdose death rate in Massachusetts is 120 times higher for individuals recently incarcerated, and that is simply unacceptable because many of those deaths could be prevented. The Medical Society has long supported ensuring access to all appropriate medication-assisted treatment for those who are suffering from substance use disorder while in jails and prisons.  We’re encouraged that the Massachusetts Sheriffs Association has embraced this opportunity and that steps will be taken toward treating some among this vulnerable population with medication-assisted treatment. We’re hopeful that the three-year pilot will save lives and compel the Commonwealth to expand access to treatment for all inmates struggling with substance use disorder.

“The Medical Society supported a proposal that would have given authorization to the Department of Public Health to establish a supervised injection facility. We appreciate the compromise of commissioning a study on the efficacy and impact of supervised injection facilities and the display of good faith and a willingness to consider evidence gathered from our 2017 report on SIFs.

“We hold a steadfast belief that the forthcoming study will confirm our own findings: that supervised injection facilities foster harm reduction, reduce deaths from opioid overdose and disease transmission, and open pathways to medically appropriate resources for treatment and recovery. We look forward to bringing our review of the research to this study, and we’re confident that it will lead to the state’s establishing of a pilot SIF, under the auspices of the DPH.

“The Medical Society will continue to be an engaged partner of Gov. Baker and the Legislature as we work together on this public health crisis to reduce loss of life, stigma and barriers to treatment and recovery.”

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