With the governor and Legislature offering proposals to further address the state's opioid crisis, progress against the epidemic seems certain. As long as no one gets hung up on proprietary issues.
A House bill presented this week differs in some ways from the plan offered by Governor Baker, perhaps most notably in limiting first-time opioid prescriptions to seven days. The governor's limit of 72 hours is preferable given that pain-killer addiction has proven to be a path toward heroin addiction, but it is certainly not a deal-breaker if the House version wins out.
Governor Baker's reputation as an icy cool policy wonk preceded him into the state's top office, but during a recent editorial board meeting at The Eagle he spoke with considerable passion about the state's opioid epidemic. The governor said he was deeply moved by the heartbreaking stories told by family members of addicts and emphasized that the destructive epidemic crossed all societal, economic and geographic boundaries in Massachusetts.
The governor told the State House News Service that opioid legislation should not become a "pride of authorship issue." He is right, and we hope Beacon Hill, which has already taken needed steps on this problem, can come together on a tough, constructive bill in January when lawmakers return to full sessions.