Last month, the Connecticut legislature ended its 2019 consultation with a package deal of bills geared toward decreasing deadly overdoses and drug-related harm within the nation. One superb step is the inclusion of $8 million in funding with the aid of Gov. Ned Lamont inside the nation finances to growth the status quo of medicine-based total treatment for opioid use sickness in correctional settings.
But plenty of what exceeded changed into reactionary to the overdose crisis rather than a proactive technique primarily based on what became found out from the failed drug struggle.
On the hassle of fentanyl, the legislature chose a conventional drug warfare method: criminalization. Act Increasing Criminal Penalties for the Sale of Fentanyl, passed via the legislature and signed with the aid of Gov. Lamont, increases consequences for promoting fentanyl. History, research, and common feel have proven that arresting and incarcerating individuals who use and/or deal pills is not effective in decreasing drug use or drug-related crime. Further, absolutely everyone who has used capsules is aware of that the “line” among user and dealer is almost non-existent, as most people who use tablets also provide them to a person else in a single manner or another.
For those who survived the times of crack and powder cocaine sentencing disparities, the story of criminalization is all too familiar: mass incarceration and other suffering embedded inside communities that are hit the toughest with the aid of dependancy, disparities in offerings, a damaged safety internet. Consistently, those communities are black, brown, and experiencing poverty, like rural white communities in Connecticut. Yet while confronted with a drug-associated difficulty like the overdose epidemic, the drug struggle has a funny manner of creating people overlook the beyond: every unmarried House member of Connecticut’s Black & Puerto Rican Caucus voted yes to increasing penalties for fentanyl. In the Senate, the bill surpassed with a vote of 33-3, wherein the handiest no vote from the BPRC got here from Sen. Winfield, D-New Haven.
In a state in which we had been hit tough by the overdose crisis, increasing criminalization on individuals who own capsules with fentanyl in them is not the solution. Fentanyl does no longer come from Connecticut. People who are dealing with addiction and mental fitness issues can be in possession of a bootleg drug and be unaware that it contains fentanyl.
Another piece of regulation that handed, An Act Concerning Opioid Use Disorder, might set up a statewide prescription drug monitoring application designed to lessen the number of overdoses associated with prescription opioids and different managed narcotics via a digital tracking software. On the floor, this seems like a logical step for the nation to take. However, the trouble with this regulation is that there are blended reviews supporting the efficacy of such applications. Even greater, there may be big research that links these legal guidelines to will increase in deadly overdoses.
These types of interventions have driven human beings far from prescribed substances to unpredictable illicit ones synthetic on the street. And there was an alarming trend of continual pain sufferers whose situations are managed appropriately with opioid analgesics however who have been pressure-tapered or cut off from those medicines due to such applications. Limiting get entry to opioids through restrictive laws to pressure many to the illicit market or, more tragically, to suicide.
The legislature additionally handed a bill to look at protocols and feasibility of involuntary commitment of individuals who experienced an overdose. Evidence shows that coerced, involuntary treatment and the related confinement are each useless for long time recovery and dangerous for overdose threat because of decreased tolerance. One takes a look at determined that folks that were involuntarily committed had been more than two times as in all likelihood to enjoy a deadly overdose as folks that finished voluntary treatment.
The legislature must have taken an exclusive technique. Health-based regulations and interventions that we recognize work include low-threshold, instantly get right of entry to lifestyles-saving medicinal drugs like methadone and buprenorphine; significant distribution of naloxone and drug-testing resources like fentanyl test strips; syringe get entry to and harm discount programs; network organizing; and progressed get entry to healthcare.
Though there have been some encouraging bills that surpassed via the legislature this consultation, many of those who related to opioid use represents a step backward for the nation. It is alarming that these payments are being touted as victories, no matter overwhelming evidence demonstrating the harms they will cause. If we continue in this course, we will herald some other new release of the failed drug struggle.