Louisiana governor declares “call to action week” on opioid addiction

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BATON ROUGE, La. (KTAL/KMSS)  — Gov. John Bel Edwards has declared this week  a “call to action week” on opioid addiction to focus on prevention, intervention, and treatment strategies.

To galvanize action, the Louisiana Department of Health is facilitating the Louisiana Opioid Action Summit this week in Slidell – with participants coming from all regions of the state.

“The opioid crisis has caused irreparable harm across Louisiana, but we can turn the tide on this devastation,” Edwards said. “Our new laws and policies are integral to helping our residents struggling with opioid addiction get the help they desperately need and understanding where and how frequently overdoses are occurring so we can work to prevent further harm.”

This week, Edwards highlighted three bills passed during the 2019 legislative session that will help address the opioid epidemic in Louisiana, which has ravaged communities throughout Louisiana.   

The measures will tackle this pressing public health problem by increasing access to evidence-based treatment for opioid use disorder and more effectively tracking and reporting opioid-related overdoses and fatalities.

These laws build upon the administration’s previous actions: Secretary of Health Rebekah Gee’s standing order for Naloxone – the opioid overdose reversal drug, the prescription drug monitoring program, the 7-day opioid prescription limit legislation that Edwards signed in 2017, and the creation of the HOPE Council.

Specifically, the bills signed this year:

  • HB 243/Act 423 (Rep. Dustin Miller) – Requires coroner’s offices to report opioid-related overdose deaths, and require first responders to report both individuals experiencing opioid-related overdoses and instances where naloxone—the opioid overdose reversal drug—is administered, to the Louisiana Department of Health, to better track overdoses and provide timely interventions.
  • SB 240/Act 414 (Sen. Gerald Boudreaux) – Allows advanced practice registered nurses and physician assistants to provide medication-assisted treatment to patients.
  • HB 250/Act 425 (Rep. Paula Davis) – Requires residential treatment facilities in the state, as a condition of licensure, to provide access to at least two forms of medications used in medication-assisted treatment (MAT), which combines FDA-approved drugs with counseling, and is the most effective therapy for opioid use disorder.

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