A bold plan to tackle the opioid crisis in Massachusetts is fueling a debate over how far to go to stop the flow of potent painkillers that bring relief to some ailing patients but pave a path to addiction for others.
The legislative proposal from Republican Governor Charlie Baker would restrict doctors’ power to prescribe painkillers — while giving them new authority to force drug addicts into immediate treatment.
“This is an issue that is a public health epidemic. And you don’t solve problems like that by nibbling around the margins,” Baker told STAT in a recent interview.
Baker’s plan goes farther than any other state. It has drawn strong bipartisan support; law enforcement agencies have lined up behind it, too. But doctors, dentists, and civil liberties advocates have raised concerns.