Maryland Lawmakers Pass Comprehensive Legislation to Combat Opio - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Maryland Lawmakers Pass Comprehensive Legislation to Combat Opioid Epidemic

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. Maryland's legislative session has ended but not before a slew of bills passed aimed at combating the state’s growing heroin and opioid epidemic.

          
Lawmakers gave final approval to the legislation Monday night.
           
One bill, which is called the HOPE Act, requires hospitals to set a new protocol for discharging patients treated for substance abuse disorders. It also increases access to the overdose-reversal drug known as naloxone. The bill also provides added funding for community behavioral health providers.

According to Sarah Arnett, Director of Emergency & Trauma Services at Peninsula Regional Medical Center, understanding how the HOPE Act impacts policies and procedures at hospitals is still in the early stages.

"Details of what's being required by Maryland hospitals is being vetted so we're not exactly sure what that entails, said Arnett. But anything we can do to help provide a positive experience for patients that are undergoing crisis with the opioid epidemic would be a really good thing for us to do."
           
A separate bill is called the Start Talking Maryland Act. It requires instruction on heroin and opioid addiction and prevention, including on the lethal effect of fentanyl, a powerful narcotic even more potent than heroin. The bill also requires school boards establish a specified policy related to the administration of Naloxone, a drug designed to reverse overdoses,

A pair of bills pushed by Governor Larry Hogan also moved forward Monday night. One that passed would require doctors to follow the best available science when prescribing opioid pain pills. The other would impose stricter prison sentences on those convicted of dealing fentanyl.

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