Baker proposal seeks new steps to fight opioid addiction

Boston Statehouse
Charlie Baker_316302

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker addresses reporters after signing a bill at the Statehouse in Boston, Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2015. Gov. Baker, who is pushing broader legislation to battle the deadly opioid abuse scourge, signed into law criminal penalties for trafficking in fentanyl, a powerful drug that law enforcement officials say is often added to heroin. […]

BOSTON (AP) – Gov. Charlie Baker is urging lawmakers to approve further steps aimed at curbing the opioid addiction scourge that has claimed thousands of lives in Massachusetts in recent years.

A legislative committee holds a hearing Tuesday on a bill filed by Baker. The Republican governor says it will help assure access to specialized treatment for people suffering from addiction.

The legislation would authorize police officers and medical professionals to bring high-risk individuals to substance abuse treatment centers, even against their will, for up to 72 hours.

The bill also seeks to establish standards for credentialing “recovery coaches,” who help people to overcome addiction, and to allow all pharmacies to carry the overdose-reversal drug Naloxone.

Baker says the legislation builds on a wide-ranging opioid abuse law he signed in 2016.

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