Senate Leaders Unveil Anti-Addiction Proposal

Massachusetts Senate leaders are calling for new, sweeping anti-addiction measures.

The legislation would hit the opiate addiction crisis at multiple stages — from prescription to treatment.

“This is a bold move, we know that,” says Senate President Therese Murray. “We have to break the cycle of addiction before it breaks us.”

Among the proposed rules, all doctors would get training in prescription monitoring before they could renew their license. Pharmacists would have to substitute safer painkillers for opiates that can be easily abused. The public health commissioner could order pharmacy products off the shelves if they start showing up in synthetic drug recipes.

“However, I want to assure the people of Massachusetts that we are not here to stop people with chronic pain or who need end of life care to get the drugs and treatment they need to lead comfortable and productive lives,” Murray adds.

Another part of the plan targets insurers — they could no longer demand prior authorization before an addict gets into detox or clinical treatment. Murray says the full Senate is expected to take up the bill on Tuesday.

The State House News Service contributed to this story.