Mass. Governor: Overdose-reversal drug should be more available
Boston — Gov. Charlie Baker wants states to have the flexibility to make the overdose-reversing drug naloxone available over the counter to help stem the nation’s opioid overdose epidemic.
The Republican governor plans to deliver letters today to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Eric Hargan, acting secretary of the U.S. Health and Human Services Department, requesting the change.
Baker, a member of Republican President Donald Trump’s special commission on opioid abuse, said Massachusetts already has expanded access to the drug, but he wants the federal government to make that access even broader.
Baker also wants the federal government to approve rapid urine tests for the presence of the opioid fentanyl for use by doctors and permit office-based opioid treatment with methadone.
Baker announced his intention to send the letters as he unveiled a new bill Tuesday that he says would expand the state’s ongoing battle against an opioid crisis that has claimed thousands of lives in Massachusetts.
The governor said the legislation aims to increase access to treatment and recovery services and strengthen education and prevention efforts.
“While we have seen progress and gained valuable insight into combating the disease, this legislation takes stronger, more targeted steps to intervene earlier in a person’s life,” said Baker.
Among other steps, the bill would create a commission to recommend standards for the credentialing of recovery coaches.
Baker said requiring that recovery coaches — who help those struggling with addiction — be credentialed by the state would help make sure they are qualified and could make it easier for their services to be covered by insurers.