Senator Chris Eaton: Senators fight to end opioid addiction and support affected families with new legislation

SAINT PAUL, MN – Senators Julie Rosen (R-Vernon Center) and Chris Eaton (D-Brooklyn Center) paved the way today to end Minnesota’s opioid crisis with new, bipartisan legislation that spans in scope from preventing addiction in the first place, to supporting children subjected to abuse or neglect. Similar legislation was approved by the Senate last year with ninety percent support.

“Every day, more Minnesotans die of overdoses, more children are abused and neglected, and more futures are ruined because of an addiction that is too strong to fight alone. This is an opportunity to save the lives and the futures of those who are still here,” said Sen. Rosen. “We have a moral obligation to help end this crisis.”

Senator Chris Eaton, who lost a child to opioid addiction ten years ago and has been a tireless advocate in pushing for legislation to curb this full-blown epidemic, said, “We’ve been working hard to strengthen existing laws relating to the life-saving drug, Narcan. But it just isn’t enough. Despite our many efforts, Minnesota’s opioid epidemic has continued to grow. We must be more proactive in eliminating opioid abuse through prevention, education and creative treatment options.”

Dr. Gavin Bart, Addiction Medicine Division Director at Hennepin Healthcare, added, “Every day at Hennepin Healthcare we see the devastating impact of opioid addiction on our patients, their families, and the community at large. As leaders in addiction treatment, education, and research, Hennepin Healthcare is thankful to both Senator Rosen and Sen. Eaton for their tireless efforts to help solve this crisis. This bill provides an enduring legacy and increased financial resources that will allow us to hopefully get ahead of this epidemic and bring helpful resources to Minnesota communities.”

Highlights of the legislation include:

  • Significant funding for county-administered social services to help kids who have been subjected to child abuse or neglect due to parental addiction.
  • Prescription monitoring program to prevent overprescribing and “doctor shopping.”
  • Public awareness, prevention, and education programs.
  • Statewide access to effective treatment and recovery services.
  • Continuing education for opioid prescribers.
  • Research and development of evidence-based treatment programs.
  • Stronger reporting by pharmaceutical companies.

In order to accomplish these goals, the bill creates an Opiate Stewardship Advisory Council, made up of legislators and medical and health experts, tasked with developing a statewide effort to curb opioid addiction.

Funding for the bill will come from an increase in licensing fees on opioid manufacturers and distributors. Counties will receive half of the funding and the Opiate Stewardship Advisory Council will receive the other half.

Senator Chris Eaton
Chris Eaton represents District 40, which includes the cities of Brooklyn Center and Brooklyn Park in Hennepin County in the Twin Cities metropolitan area.

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