Articles, Blog

Gov. Edwards to Sign Bills to Address Louisiana’s Opioid Epidemic

December 11, 2019

I want to thank all
of you for being here today and we’re excited about some progress we’re
making on some very important fronts and I want to welcome Rep. Helena Moreno. I hope Walt Leger will be able to make it before we leave I know he was in appropriations. Also
Ed Crosby, Director of Odyssey house, Dr. David Broussard, Dr. Karen DeSalvo who
were very instrumental in supporting these bills it’s always good to see health
care professionals work together with policy makers to improve patient safety
and care and their bills that I’m going to be signing in just a moment
will help us to have one most widely spread and avoidable epidemics in our
nation. This is a big focus of the National Governors Association as well
as President Trump. From 2014 to 2015 Louisiana had a 12% increase and deaths
were rate that opioid overdose and it’s one of the 20 states to see a
significant increase in a way to death and we know the 65% of heroine users
started with prescription opioids and this is a startling fact
but in Louisiana on average 122 prescriptions for opioids per hundred
so more than one prescription per person in our state. That’s serious. That’s one of
the worst rates in the nation but not the worst. Since taking office I’ve taken
several steps to stop the spread of addiction ensure those
access to the healthcare needed before it’s too late.
The very first step that I took one of the biggest because on my first full day
in office because of the Medicaid expansion 23500 individuals have
received mental healthcare services another 7500 people getting treatment
for substance abuse issues of that 31,000 and total 6,000 those people have
received inpatient care. That’s care that would not have been available absent a
Medicaid expansion. Also this January the Republican health issue expanding order
for the lumpsum that allows for participating pharmacists to dispense
this life-saving drug to caregivers family members and friends of opioid
users without a prescription if I’m not mistaken thanked and action made
possible and it made possible by a piece of legislation that was sponsored
by representative Moreno and passed with strong bipartisan support and
now with the bills being signed to take all of which were included in my
legislative package we opened them for families from experiencing the heartache
of losing a loved one to addiction specifically House bill 192 by the
referee velena ray no record pallet living first
time prescriptions of opioids were – pain – a seven-day supply with
exceptions when medically appropriate and noted in a patient’s chart the bill
almost also limits all acute pain opioid prescription for children to set of days
7 bill 55 US Senator Greg Mills strengthens the prescription monitoring
program are referring to prescriber to be involved in the system and check the
system before initially prescribing the patient and opioid with exceptions for
cancer and hospice patients the bill also requires continuing medical
education for prescribers and obviously it is intended to make sure that
prescribed opioids don’t get you properly also House bill 4 90 by
represented Waldo shaker resuit Advisory Council heroin and opioid prevention and
education which will performing resources and expertise to assist in a
statewide response these are responsible sensible measures that will help to
increase the rate of use and stop addiction before it starts and I want to
commend the bipartisan work that went into offering and the passage of these
bills as well as the input from the healthcare providers across our state
body opioid abuse cannot be a disjointed affair it takes local state and federal
governments working together it takes the healthcare providers law enforcement
community requires nonprofits and private citizens
ultimately it bars insurers and the medical community working together and
when we do work together there’s hope and that
is the message of this press conference today who’s Bill signings there’s hope
for anyone at risk from falling into addiction as well as those who are
already struggling we hear you and we’re actively today also excited that were
signed in the series of bills addressing the very real problem of domestic
violence in Louisiana and I want to welcome Charmaine cassiopi here today
with the United Way of South East Louisiana thank her for her perfect
leadership passage of these bills there are several of them House bill 27 human
bathtub which amends to definition of a household member for persons purposes of
domestic violence House bill 223 Bible a memorandum which
ascents domestic violence laws to dating partners and then three bills by
representative John Trevor whoever lead is here with us today
he is House bills for ninety nine five over four and five twenty four which
addressed the problems helping creates a cybersport prom Prevention Improvement
District in East Baton Rouge and then nuts outright somebody gave you
a bad talking point on that amendment I should have read the handbook before I
lived there I know that they dealt with the crime was talking and dealt with
protective orders and allowed state through District Attorney’s rather to
move to to stop proceedings and divorces and child custody matters so at this
point rather than risking saying something else is wrong I’m just going
to sign these bills Oh No a label right that’s going to going to speak if Walt
comes in he will then speak and then secretary Rebecca Guinea after that
meant carrying this album Thank You governor I’ll speak on actually about
the topic I really do Thank You governor for your tremendous leadership feeling
with this opioid crisis and also dealing with you know the very terrible issue of
domestic abuse two very important issues that you’ve always been on the forefront
from when you are the legislature until now so I really appreciate that on the
opioid front over the past several years really work along with my colleagues in
the legislature to increase access to naloxone and that’s the drug that
reverses the effects of an opioid and the reason why we did that is because
the death rates were growing at such a rapid pace that we said to ourselves we
need to work on just keeping people alive so that was the first goal from
then we moved on to what do we do to prevent more
people getting addicted and that’s what my bill in particular did this year
along with Senator Mills is bill senator Mills his bill did when dealt with
mandatory checks to the prescription monitoring program so important so that
you know that people want doctor shopping my bill dealt with limited
limiting prescriptions to opioids to seven days for acute conditions so it
has nothing to do with someone who’s dealing with with a chronic illness or
anything like that but it’s so that it prevents you going to let’s say your
doctor for a minor procedure and getting a 30-day supply a purpose that or
another type of opioid that’s going to remain in your cabinet and not going to
be used by you but maybe get into the wrong hands or maybe you’ll take too
many of those pills more than you would need that’s what we were trying to
prevent and I have to tell you the reason why that particular bill passed
because many people said there’s no way you can pass any type of prescription
limitations I know a lot of us talked about that the reason why it passed is
because doctors helped to write this bill doctors like here in the salah’ and
doctors like dr. Broussard who is here and also about a lot of work through the
Louisiana Medical Society it’s because they helped write the bill that have
enough to tell you that addiction experts like dr. Edie Carlson who is
here from Odyssey house it’s because they were the stakeholders involved in
writing this bill that passed I’m really really happy that that this was able to
make it through the process and it was something that received bipartisan
support in fact I don’t think one person voted against it so that was one thing
that we in the legislature were able to come together on this you just briefly
want to speak I know there’s a lot of others I want to speak as well but I do
want to speak about the domestic violence bills I have to tell you that
on a house filled 27 and also on my house bill 223 on dealing with finally
including same-sex couples to have the protections in domestic abuse and
finally adding dating partners to be covered in domestic abuse this is
something new advocates here know you’ve been working on this for now what twenty
something years at least at least two decades trying to get this type of
legislation passed but we were finally able to do it this year and it was
because of all of you being so determined and as being pretty savvy
this year that we were able to get it done I have to thank the folks that ldaa
for being there with us helping us with those language changes that we needed
because without you all I’m not sure we would have been in the same position
that we were last year the year before so we do thank you for that and with
that I’d like to turn it over to is well as jr. Tanisha I don’t have you made it
again I’m going to turn it over to secretary P so she can talk about the
opioid bills as well thank you all so much what I wanted to say but I’m just
say this as a practicing physician I’ve seen this epidemic become one of the
worst public health scourges on our nation and it’s preventable and it came
from a good place it came from doctors wanting to treat pain today
that their patients are comfortable and that it’s led to death in every parish
in this state every age group every race every income it’s touched all of our
lives and it’s time to end this epidemic the bills that were passed is the
session more incredibly aggressive we are now at the national forefront of the
work kind of we would curbing opiate abuse the beauty is that the physician
community of the line we had LSMs Koch Clark who’s president this year you
Spanish corner who saw there were more opioid related destinies Baton Rouge
than motor vehicle and violence combined so what we’ve done will make an enormous
difference to the lives of everyone in this state and I’m incredibly proud of
the progress we’ve made this year couple other highlights a scientist standing
order under lock stone which means that you go to pharmacy that’s because of the
work of the governed and Elena Moreno and that has made a difference the
limits will make a difference we’ve already implemented them in Medicaid so
we had a 15 day limit starting in July we’ll have seven day limits will be
working with Blue Cross office of group benefits throughout the other groups
throughout the state and our medical schools to train them about this but
it’s a very very exciting time we’ve also had just recently two weeks ago we
learned we have an eight million dollar per year for two year grant to attack
the opioid epidemic so we’re putting every tool in a toolbox on this problem
and I’m sure that we will start saving lives immediately and it’s a one
all day for health Zooey’s again so thanks for trying to degree from really
thrilled to be invited to be there today I’m here and salbon a physician and I’m
practicing for about 20 years Louisiana just remember returned home from service
in Washington and I just couldn’t be more proud of my state in the way
they’ve been taking head-on the opioid epidemic and I want to take a moment to
thank the governor for raising the profile of the suite of bills such that
it gives us an opportunity to speak directly to the elbow about how critical
this opioid epidemic is and how we’re going to have to all work on this
together it’s not just about prescribing behaviors it’s not just about they came
to check the prescription drug monitoring program but it’s really an
opportunity of these bills to remind us of a few things one the doctors need to
think before they wield the pen we need to take a minute and reflect upon
whether the payment or need needed how much is needed and for how long and take
a minute to check and see if someone’s been getting pain medications from
somewhere else it’s also a chance for patients to take a minute and think when
they’re getting prescribed pain medication that sometimes it’s okay just
to say no I don’t need the opioid prescription drugs or maybe I need less
than you’re prescribing and to feel empowered to do that but it’s also a
chance that they for them to remember that they do take the opioids for the
Minnesota place when they’re at the house because it’s too easy to get
access to them when they’re in the bathroom and as you’ve heard from
others today that’s a pathway to fit especially triangle B always for the
first time and can lead to subsequent use and abuse down the road I think the
final message that I would have is I think about the suite of bills is that
it’s an opportunity for us to remember about honest conversations between
doctors and patients because at that moment when we’re thinking of
prescribing the opioids or when to patients about to receive and that’s the
minute that we should be asking those questions about whether someone has a
substance use disorder and it’s an opportunity not just to prevent that one
prescription but really more importantly to get people into treatment because
substance use disorders are a medical condition they can be treated people can
recover and so I think a really important step forward that we’re going
to be taking a pause with bills like these to really ask those questions so I
know that together Louisiana is going to find a way forward we’ve been doing so
much as a state I was proud to come home and see all of the advancement and
collegiality and really good thinking and I’m looking forward to seeing future
ways that we can work together to really deal with this opioid epidemic a not
only head-on but once and for all so and what was got the trifecta $4.99 this is the protective order
against persons correlation very much violation that’s a lot of good bills to protective legislation for a very very long time
and I can assure you we haven’t done anything

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