Sen. Andrew Mathews (R-Milaca) has joined his Senate colleagues in overwhelmingly passing bipartisan legislation that tackles the ongoing opioid addiction crisis through a multi-faceted approach.
The bill touches each level of the legal opiate distribution chain and creates a new Opiate Epidemic Response Account to fund initiatives, locally and statewide, that address opioid addiction in Minnesota.
Of all 87 counties in Minnesota, Kanabec and Mille Lacs counties are second and third when it comes to the highest rates of opioids dispensed per resident.
A recent study from the National Safety Council found that it is more likely for an individual to die from an opioid overdose than a car accident in the United States.
“As we have seen in our own communities, the opioid epidemic has devastating consequences for families and individuals,” Mathews stated.
While there are many steps to go before solving this problem, Mathews also state the new legislation directs resources to counties, families, and individuals struggling with the opioid crisis in Minnesota.
“Importantly, it maintains local flexibility in dealing with this issue and ensures physician and pharmacist discretion,” he added. “Through a comprehensive approach, our goal is to save lives locally and across our state.”
After passing the Senate, the bill now heads to a conference committee with the House of Representatives where differences in the legislation passed by each respective body will be resolved.