Senate passes bills to combat opioid crisis

A bill by state Sen. Jen Metzger to crack down on doctors who over-prescribe narcotic painkillers was one of 17 bills the Senate passed on Tuesday to address the opioid epidemic in various ways.

Metzger’s bill, approved unanimously, would simply add a clause to state law to require the state Health Department to monitor its data on prescriptions for “inappropriate prescribing of controlled substance.” The Senate had passed the same bill near the end of last year’s legislative session, but the Assembly never took it up.

Metzger, a Rosendale Democrat elected in 2018, co-sponsored most of the other bills approved on Tuesday, includes ones that would require updated training for prescribing controlled substances and mandate that patients who are given opioids also be prescribed drugs that can reverse an overdose.

“The communities I represent have been deeply affected by the opioid crisis, with Ulster, Sullivan, Orange, and Delaware counties all facing staggering opioid-related death rates that far exceed the state average,” Metzger said in a statement. “There is no doubt that the package of opioid legislation passed will save lives.” 

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