FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. — Members of the legislature’s Public Health Committee — including a lawmaker from Shelton – issued a call on Monday to cap the limit on prescription opioids to a seven-day supply in Connecticut.
State Reps. Jason Perillo (R-Shelton) and Ben McGorty (R-Shelton, Stratford, Trumbull) joined that call, saying it is an essential step in combating the state’s increasing opioid addiction crisis.
“Patients that are prescribed opioids very often don’t use the full supply they are prescribed,” said Perillo, a member of the Public Health Committee. “This leaves the door open for the remaining portion to be sold or given away. It also increases the likelihood that the patient will take too many pills and, as a result, become dependent.
"Limiting the opioid prescriptions to seven-day supplies will reduce the availability of any extra unused pills. A prescribing physician can always prescribe more if, in his professional medical opinion, the patient’s condition is chronic.”
The proposal is called SB 352, An Act Concerning Prescriptions for and the Dispensing of Opioid Antagonists and Opioid Drugs.
Perillo and McGorty had joined other legislators, state and local officials and public health professionals at an opioid addiction forum March 3 at Scinto Auditorium in Shelton. It was attended by a standing-room-only crowd of over 200 people, attesting to the significance of the crisis.
“One thing that seems clear from what we have learned about opioid abuse is that abuse of opioid prescription drugs frequently leads to a heroin habit for the abuser,” said McGorty. “The problem of opioid abuse does not have one solution, but limiting the number of unused opioid painkillers that are available for abuse such as this proposal is one of many things we can do to in that effort.”
Current law requires that opioids prescribed by physicians for patients be capped at 30-day supplies. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released recommendations last week on the prescription of opioid painkillers, calling on doctors to use non-opioids when possible, and to limit opioid prescriptions to seven-day supplies.
The Shelton legislators said recent data from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner shows a substantial increase —27 percent — in the number of overdose deaths related to opioids and heroin in Connecticut from 2014-15.
The bill remains before the Public Health Committee and awaits action there.
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