Governor Mark Dayton and DFL legislators held a press conference this week to urge Senate Republican leadership to seriously consider enacting the new state guidelines to combat opioid abuse. Some of the provisions include:
- Prescribing the lowest effective dose and duration of opioids when used for acute pain.
- Monitoring the patient closely during the post-acute pain period.
- Avoiding initiating chronic opioid therapy and carefully manage any patient who remains on opioid medication.
Senate DFLers continue to support passing a penny a pill legislation this year to provide urgently needed resources for opioid prevention and treatment services. This program would raise $20 million a year to combat the dramatic rise in opioid overdose deaths. According to the Minnesota Department of Health, the state had 395 opioid deaths in 2016, an 18% increase over 2015. Of those 395 deaths, 194 were linked to prescription opioids.
Efforts to address this heartbreaking epidemic are happening at every level of government; however, the manufacturers of opioids have contributed very little in proportion to their role in helping to create the problem. This bill would alleviate some of the burden on Minnesota taxpayers by requiring the pharmaceutical industry to pitch in and do what is right.