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.

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