Minnesota lawmakers introduce 5 bills to combat opioid epidemic

Hundreds of Minnesotans who've lost loved ones to opioid overdoses rallied at the State Capitol building in St. Paul on Tuesday for the state's inaugural "Opioid Awareness Day." The gathering coincided with bill proposals from state lawmakers designed to deter opioid overdoses, according to CBS Minnesota.

The two legislators who spearheaded the proposals — State Senator Chris Eaton, DFL-Brooklyn Center, and State Representative Dave Baker, R-District 17B — both lost a child to opioid overdoses.

"It drives what I do," said Ms. Eaton at the rally, referencing the death of her 23-year-old daughter, according to CBS Minnesota. "Every day I miss my daughter. Every day I wake up without her."

If passed, the proposed bills would mandate the creation of an online database of patient drug history that providers must reference prior to writing an opioid prescription. The bills would also issue a three-day limit on all opioid prescriptions and charge drug companies a 1-cent per milligram opioid fee, among other measures to prevent abuse.

"If you want to sell morphine equivalents here in the state of Minnesota, we're saying 'pay attention' because we're done with this now," Mr. Baker told the pharmaceutical industry. "We want to do more things, so step up, or we will make you step up."

The proposed 1-cent fee per milligram on opioids would reportedly raise an estimated $20 million or more to support addiction programs and public awareness efforts, according to the Twin Cities Pioneer Press.

More articles on opioids: 
15 states where drug overdose deaths increased most from 2014-2015 
Michigan lawmakers to vote on opioid tracking laws 
FDA rejects nasal spray for opioid overdoses

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