Starch solution may be the key to solving America’s opioid crisis
More than 100 people have died of a drug overdose in Washington state in the past two weeks, prompting a state lawmaker to suggest a new way to combat the crisis.
State Rep. Mark Pody, R-Nampa, introduced legislation Thursday that would require health officials to report overdoses to the Oregon Health Authority.
“If you are not using painkillers, you are at risk of dying from this,” Pody told a news conference.
“And we need to do everything we can to get them to the front lines and stop the painkillers from entering our communities.”
Oregon Health Authority spokesman Mike Johnson said the agency is working with the legislature to ensure the bill passes, but has no plans to take action immediately.
He said the goal is to have the legislation on the books by June.
Pody is one of nine Republican legislators sponsoring the legislation.
In the last decade, the number of overdose deaths in the U.S. has quadrupled and the number killed by opioids has jumped more than 1,500 percent.
In response, lawmakers have proposed more aggressive approaches to curbing the problem, including a $50 million federal grant that would cover drug treatment, opioid addiction treatment and other efforts.
Poynter, the health authority’s chief, said the money could be used to train overdose response personnel, to increase overdose detection and treatment, and to train physicians and other health workers.
“We have to take care of people who are suffering from addiction and the costs of not taking care of those people,” Poyna said.
“But the more money we have, the more we have to do it.”
Johnson said the $50 billion fund is available to all states, but that the money should be focused on the states that have the largest overdose deaths.
“This is a national issue and we all share a responsibility,” Johnson said.