MMS thoughts on Gov. Baker’s “Opioids 2.0 Bill”

Statement from Massachusetts Medical Society President Henry L. Dorkin, MD, FAAP, on “An Act Relative to Combatting Addiction, Accessing Treatment, Reducing Prescriptions and Enhancing Prevention”:

“The Massachusetts Medical Society applauds Governor Baker for his leadership and drive toward curbing the opioid crisis that continues to plague the Commonwealth, and commends the Legislature for its recognition that this public health crisis must be met with urgency and multi-faceted, data-backed tactics and measures. We appreciate the Commonwealth’s commitment to and investment in prevention and we stand in support of the intent of the proposed bill.

“We are gratified by the Governor’s continued support of a partial-fill law which will allow patients and physicians to reconnect upon completion of an initial course of treatment and determine whether further use of such pain medication is warranted and safe, or whether the remainder of the prescription need not be filled.

“The partial-fill approach to opioid prescribing remains a vital component in reducing opportunities for unused pain medication to be transferred from a patient to those who suffer from opioid abuse disorder or may be at risk of developing an opioid use disorder.

“Evidence-based prevention approaches to protect school-aged children from opioid abuse are essential tools, and we applaud the Governor for the provision establishing the Trust Fund for Prevention.

“The Medical Society commends the important discourse relative to the electronic prescribing of controlled substances. We appreciate the intent and the spirit of the provision promoting greater adoption of e-prescribing of controlled substances, and look forward to engaging with the administration on details of the proposal. A well-functioning, easy-to-use form of electronic controlled substance prescribing that improves and facilitates the physician’s ordering of such medication would be a boon to all concerned.

“We are optimistic and heartened by the decline in Schedule II opioid prescriptions, but recognize more work remains in the effort to reduce overdoses. Our goal, like the Governor’s, is an overdose mortality rate of zero.

“The Massachusetts Medical Society appreciates the opportunity to express our views and reiterates its appreciation to Governor Baker, his Department of Health and Human Services, and the Legislature for taking vital action on behalf of the Commonwealth, and we look forward to continuing to partner with the Governor and lawmakers on solutions designed to reduce the harm caused by the opioid epidemic.”

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