Senator Chris Murphy said he supports the Obama Administration and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) efforts to combat the opioid epidemic. Specifically, HHS issued a final rule to increase the number of patients that qualified physicians can provide buprenorphine to from 100 to 275 patients. The new rule will greatly expand the ability of addiction medical specialists and other trained medical professionals to provide life-saving medication-assisted therapies.
“HHS took an important step today by nearly tripling the number of patients that can receive life-saving buprenorphine treatment,” said Murphy. “The opioid and heroin epidemic in Connecticut is one of the worst public health and safety crises our state has ever faced. Today’s action will offer some real, tangible relief to individuals looking to turn their lives around. Now is the time for Congress to step up to the plate and do its part to stem this epidemic.”
In addition to expanding access to medication-assisted treatment, the Obama administration also announced new actions to improve prescription drug monitoring by federal prescribers, advance prescriber education, encourage safe pain management, accelerate research on opioid misuse and overdose, expand telemedicine, improve housing support for those in recovery and encourage the safe disposal of unneeded prescription opioids.
In Connecticut, deaths caused by drug overdoses have skyrocketed. Last month, New Haven declared a public health emergency after more than 17 residents suffered from a drug overdose and three others died in a single day. In 2015, 729 Connecticut residents died from drug overdoses, including 415 heroin-related deaths.