By Sen. Tony Hwang
That’s how many people who will likely die from drug overdoses in Connecticut this year.
The state Office of the Chief Medical Examiner made that alarming projection this week.
It’s an astounding 300 percent rise from 2012.
From Newtown to New Canaan to New London, the opioid crisis is raging in all of our communities.
And it’s killing our friends, neighbors and relatives at a skyrocketing rate.
A new state law, the product of a comprehensive and thoughtful bill that I was proud to co-sponsor during this year’s legislative session, seeks to combat the scourge on a variety of fronts.
The new law makes several changes to prevent and treat opioid drug abuse, including:
– Requiring individual and group health insurers to cover medically necessary detox treatments
– Requiring a treatment facility to use admissions criteria developed by the American Society of Addiction Medicine, which urges admission regardless of health status or addiction levels
– Limiting access to controlled substances by allowing certain registered nurses employed by home health care agencies to destroy or dispose of them
– Requiring practitioners, when prescribing opioids, to discuss with all patients, rather than only minors, the risks associated with opioid drug use
– Reducing, from a seven day supply to a five day supply, the maximum amount of an opioid drug a practitioner may prescribe to a minor
– Requiring prescriptions for controlled substances to be electronically transmitted – with a few exceptions including if the prescriber demonstrates that they do not have the technological capacity
– Creating a standing order – a non-patient specific prescription to licensed pharmacists to prescribe the life-saving drug Naloxone, sold under the brand name Narcan.
The Naloxone aspect of the new law serves as a reminder as to why this is an ongoing battle which we can never stop fighting.
Prior to 2014, for example, only paramedics were allowed to carry and use Naloxone. I advocated on behest of local fire and police first responders and worked with the Connecticut Department of Public Health to help make a necessary ‘scope of practice’ change while ensuring the highest standard of quality assurance through training. That policy change provided new tools for more of our first responders to save lives and prevent tragedies.
I invite residents to help me fight this battle. Send me your ideas and suggestions for future legislation and policy changes to address this ongoing public health emergency. Send me your thoughts at Tony.Hwang@cga.ct.gov or call me at 800-842-1421.
*Sen. Hwang represents Easton, Fairfield, Newtown, Weston and Westport. On the web: www.SenatorHwang.com
SEN. HWANG STATEMENT RE: GOVERNOR’S DEVASTATING EXECUTIVE ORDER
“A shameful abdication of responsible leadership.”
State Senator Tony Hwang (R-Fairfield) today released the following statement regarding the governor’s revised executive order.
“What we have here today is nothing more than a shameful abdication of responsible leadership,” said Sen. Hwang. “All of the towns in my district and many other fiscally responsible ones are to receive absolutely no funding from the state to educate our children?
“Again, Governor Malloy is looking to make towns pay for his total mismanagement of the finances of Connecticut. This is shameful and irresponsible.
“Today, Governor Malloy released revisions to the Executive Order Resource Allocation Plan, along with new municipal aid distributions associated with the plan. While it holds 30 Alliance Districts harmless, it strives to completely decimate the remainder of the state of Connecticut.
“Not only does the governor’s plan decimate the majority of cities and towns across the state, it is also plainly illegal. We need to stop picking winners and losers in the budget process. We need a process that is predictable, sustainable and transparent
“The worst part is that Republicans have provided solutions to our budget crisis and in fact we have offered Connecticut residents a fair and equitable Education Cost Sharing formula. Now, as a result of the restrictions imposed by the democrat passed union deal, we have stooped, as predicted, to punishing children and our valued educators. We have also dramatically cut municipal aid – and that will raise our local property taxes.
“As a taxpayer, and as a Connecticut citizen, I am outraged by the lack of responsible leadership in the governor’s office and the lack of proactive leadership from democrat lawmakers.
“Our Republican Senate budget proposals would have preserved education funding to municipalities without raising taxes. Now, we are stuck with a state employee union concessions agreement that has already tied our hands at the expense of our children. I call on my democrat colleagues in the legislature to present the people of Connecticut with a line-by-line budget, so that we can finally work together to move our state forward.”
*Sen. Hwang represents Easton, Fairfield, Newtown, Weston and Westport .
By Connecticut State Senator Tony Hwang
The events that took place in Charlottesville this past weekend were, first and foremost, reprehensible, evil, and horrifying.
Hate cannot and will not be tolerated by the American people.
Our society is built on the very differences that cowards and bigots seek to exploit, magnify, and demonize. The American people and the people of Connecticut have always striven to remain united, even as intolerance and radicalism pull us apart.
Now is the time to come together to mourn the life lost and to grow stronger together from it. Now is the time for those who represent the American people to be unwavering in our condemnation of violence, extremism, and bigotry. As State Senator for the 28th district of Connecticut, I condemn the hate-based violence in Virginia, and around the country; and I denounce any legitimacy or recognition of white-supremacist and neo-Nazi groups, and any people or group who promote violence, terror and hate.
Recently, in a strong bipartisan stance against hate crimes, Connecticut acted in solidarity with the Anti-Defamation League to pass House Bill 5743 into law. I am incredibly proud that we in the General Assembly stood up to craft the toughest hate crime legislation in the country. This bill was drafted in an attempt to decrease the incidence of hate crimes in our state by establishing harsher penalties for such acts and expanding the definition to cover as many “types” of hate-crime as possible, although truly there is only one. All hate crimes in the state of Connecticut are now felonies.
The cooperation on this bill means that when the specter of hate rears its ugly head, all of us, regardless of party affiliation, will rise up against it. Intolerance and actions of hate can never be ignored. This bill’s unanimous passage reflects the commitment and resolve of Connecticut residents to loudly say that hate is never acceptable under any circumstance. When someone becomes the target of a crime because of race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or disability, the very fabric and soul of our community is torn.
Tragic events like those in Charlottesville often ignite tense and emotional political debates which are counterproductive and only serve to drive us further apart. Instead, I encourage everyone to understand that the threat of violence and intolerance is not a partisan issue and should not be discussed in a political context. This is about our fundamental shared values as Americans – that all people are created equal and all people deserve respect.
“Why are we tying our own hands for a decade?”
Sen. Tony Hwang (R-28th) on July 31 expressed his disappointment in the State Senate’s narrow 19-18 passage of a state union concessions deal which bounds state government’s hands for a decade.“This deal will result in more and more job-killing tax hikes,” Sen. Hwang said. “This deal will result in slashed municipal aid and force property tax hikes. And this deal will hurt the very people we should be protecting: our vulnerable and disabled state residents who will see their services decimated and eliminated.”
Sen. Hwang noted that by tying its hands for ten years and making a substantial amount of the state budget untouchable, the union deal will ratchet up the pressure for:
○ the homeless
○ domestic violence victims
○ our neediest and most vulnerable residents.
“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result,” said Sen. Hwang. “Connecticut’s finances are in crisis due to past decisions by both Democratic and Republican leaders that have kicked the fiscal can down the road. Senate Republicans and I have attempted to push the state in a new and more sustainable direction. I am disappointed that this Democratic party line vote represents more of the same Hartford inertia. It represents the same old comfortable self-assuring bad habits which got us in trouble in the first place.”
Sen. Hwang cited the deal’s four year no-layoff guarantee combined with substantial raises and bonuses. He cited how health care insurance deductibles are zero for those who participate in a State of Connecticut wellness program.
“Those are only a few of the benefits in the union concession agreement details,” Sen. Hwang said. “We can do better for the people of Connecticut.”
“Who gets such a deal in the private sector?” Sen. Hwang asked. “Regular Joes and Jills on the Main Street look at this deal which is being afforded state employees and they get bewildered and upset. There is an obvious disconnect between what is happening in Hartford and what people are feeling in my communities. People are hurting. Many have lost belief in their government leaders.”
“This is a missed opportunity to send a visionary and compelling message that Connecticut is ready to move forward.” Sen. Hwang said. “Why are we restricting our own negotiation leverage by approving this legally-binding agreement for nearly a decade? Connecticut is now in crisis mode. We need to get back to budget negotiation and restructure and reform state government. This deal doesn’t go far enough in terms of savings.”
“We need a better roadmap, not the same thing all over again,” Sen. Hwang concluded. “That said, I will never stop fighting to advocate policies which stabilize Connecticut, which bring about predictability, and which encourage innovation, ingenuity and pride in Connecticut.”
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