The Telegram from Worchester, Massachusetts recently presented an in-depth piece on the opioid crisis, discussing the role of medically assisted treatment in combatting the epidemic. The article, by Susannah Sudborough, tracks the history to the crisis back to 1990 with the introduction of OxyContin by Purdue Pharmaceuticals. Sudborough brings us from then to present day, writing:
In 2016, Massachusetts started a prescription monitoring program that requires doctors to report every time they prescribe certain controlled substances, including opioids. The state said this has caused a 30 percent decrease in opioid prescriptions. Additionally, the state passed a law that year that restricts opioid prescriptions for first-time users and minors to a seven-day supply.
The article goes on to cover future plans:
Baker’s proposed budget recommends $266 million in funding across several state agencies for substance misuse treatment and services. It also includes a 15% excise tax on sales of prescription opioids in Massachusetts that would generate an estimated $14 million to fund programs and efforts to combat the opioid crisis.
Sudborough includes commentary from Senate chair Julian Cyr, who leads the mental health, substance abuse and recovery committee, who states:
“The governor’s proposed tax is bold and encouraging. We need to throw the kitchen sink at it (the opioid crisis) in terms of resources.”