A Solution to Minnesota’s Opiate Crisis?

Bill seeks to reduce Minnesota’s addiction to opiates

St. Paul, MN – Legislation introduced in the Minnesota State Legislature seeks to solve Minnesota’s opiate addiction crisis through the creation of an opiate stewardship program and requiring opioid manufacturers to fund it.

If passed, the bills authored by Senator Julie Rosen (R – 23) and Representative Dave Baker (R – 17B) would require opiate manufacturers to pay additional licensing fees to the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy. The amount each manufacturer pays would be determined by the amount of opiates the manufacturer sold the year before.

According to the Steve Rummler Hope Foundation, funds collected from the extra licensing fees would be placed in a state special revenue fund to expand services for individuals addicted to opiates.  Services include offering competitive grants for nonprofit organizations involved with expanding prescriber education, developing a public awareness and overdose prevention program, creating and maintaining a continuum of care from detox through sober living and supporting families and communities impacted by opiate addiction.

On Tuesday the group organized “Opioid Awareness Day on The Hill” to rally and show their support for SF730/HF1440 and to lobby for their passing. Families impacted by opiate addiction and supporters of the legislation met with lawmakers to raise awareness about the issue. Several lawmakers spoke to share their support.

“Since 2000, deaths from opioid overdoses have increased in Minnesota by 430 percent” wrote Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith, stating, “Opioid abuse is a public health crisis that demands a coordinated response. I strongly support legislation that holds pharmaceutical companies accountable and funds prevention, treatment, and recovery for opioid addiction in Minnesota.”

The opiate legislation has bipartisan support, and has been referred to the Senate and House Health and Human Services committees.