Lawmakers gear up for public hearing on Baker opioid bill

Boston Statehouse

BOSTON (WWLP)-Governor Baker has filed a bill, known as the “CARE Act” aimed at increasing access to drug treatment and reducing prescription drug abuse. The bill is up for a public hearing Tuesday at the State House.

Governor Baker unveiled the legislation in November, aimed at mitigating the impacts of the deadly opioid crisis in Massachusetts.

“This package takes a targeted approach to increase access to treatment and recovery services, strengthen education and prevention efforts,” Governor Charlie Baker (R-Massachusetts).

According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, there were more than 900 opioid related deaths in Massachusetts from January through September of last year.

Baker’s bill includes a provision that allows medical professionals and police officers to send patients to substance use treatment facilities for help if the patient is at risk for serious harm because of an addiction. They can do this without the patient voluntarily agreeing to treatment. Once at a treatment facility, medical professionals would be required to get court approval to treat a patient if they do not voluntarily accept help.

The bill also aims to prevent opioid misuse. It includes a measure that would require all prescribers to convert to electronic prescriptions and stop the use of oral and paper prescriptions by 2020.

The public can let lawmakers know what they’d like included in the bill at a committee hearing at the State House Tuesday afternoon.

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