Panel Finalizes Recommendations To Ease Drug Abuse

May 17, 2014 1:28 PM
Panel Finalizes Recommendations To Ease Drug Abuse
" BOSTON (AP) — A state panel charged with finding ways to address Massachusetts’ drug abuse epidemic is set to finalize its recommendations for Gov. Deval Patrick this week.

The 36-member Opiate Task Force, which includes mayors, state officials and health care providers, is charged with recommending how to spend $20 million designated to improve substance abuse treatment programs across the state. It meets Wednesday.

Patrick issued an executive order in March declaring drug abuse a public health emergency. He also attempted to ban Zohydro, a powerful hydrocodone-based painkiller, and he expanded the availability of naloxone, a drug used to counter the effects of opioid overdose.

Public Health Commissioner Cheryl Bartlett, who chairs the task force, says the panel’s recommendations will include short- and long-term solutions covering a broad range of categories, from better prevention education to faster, more “real-time” data on overdoses.

She declined to name specific recommendations but suggested that expanding use of the state’s Prescription Monitoring Program, an online database where a licensed prescriber or pharmacist can view a patient’s prescription history, would be among them "

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