The Minnesota Senate overwhelmingly approved legislation to combat the state’s ongoing opioid addiction crisis recently. The legislation, which passed with wide bipartisan support, takes a multi-pronged approach in responding to the opioid epidemic.

“Opioid addiction has destroyed thousands of lives across our state, particularly in our rural communities,” said District 16 Sen. Gary Dahms of Redwood Falls. “Right now, a person in Minnesota is more likely to die from an opioid overdose than from a car accident, and that must change. As a state, we must do something to address this epidemic, and this legislation will make a difference.”

The bill creates a new opiate epidemic response account that is funded by $20 million in fees collected from pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors. Future legislatures will assess the situation to determine if the fees will continue beyond the current sunset date of July 1, 2023.

In addition, the bill includes significant funding for county-administered social services to help kids who have been subjected to abuse or neglect due to parental addiction, stronger restrictions on opiate prescriptions, a prescription monitoring program to prevent overprescribing and public awareness and prevention programs.

Finally, the legislation includes statewide recovery and treatment services and funding for law enforcement across rural Minnesota to stop illegal drug trafficking.

“We all have a role to play in fighting the opioid epidemic,” Dahms added. “This bill is a step forward to hold people accountable for the responsible distribution and use of opioids.”