PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The Rhode Island Department of Health says the number of accidental overdose deaths has been increasing month by month.
There are several bills in the state house that would fight the addiction to opioids.
Representative David Bennett of Warwick is sponsoring six of the eight opioid-related bills now being analyzed by the House of Representatives.
Some of those bills include: requiring comprehensive discharge planning for patients treated for substance use disorders, requiring pharmacies to educate patients on how to properly use and dispose of any unused medication, and a bill that would have health insurance providers cover the medicine that would stop the overdose, such as Narcan.
Rep. Bennett says, “I think they’re all important bills, a lot of people don’t think of it until it hits their family. Unfortunately, it’s hitting a lot of families… We need to curb what’s going on now. We’re not going to get rid of it now, but we can put a dent in it.”
The Senate versions of these bills have already passed, now it’s the House’s turn to act.
Jonathan Goyer has fought drug addiction for 10 years; his story was profiled in GQ Magazine in May, he is an advisor to Governor Gina Raimondo’s overdose prevention and intervention task force.
“We could wait another year for this legislation to pass, possibly, but that’s going to cost a lot of Rhode Islanders their lives.” says Goyer.
Stephen Neuman, Gov. Raimondo’s Chief of Staff adds, “We’re eager for the house to act, we think they will act, and we think there is going to be a number of bills signed into law this year. We’re eager to get that done as quickly as possible.
A House of Representatives spokesman says Speaker Nicholas Mattiello is reviewing the bills and they are under consideration as they head into the final weeks of the session.