Two officials in Monroe County, N.Y., announced earlier this month they would be introducing a law that would require pharmacies in Monroe County to dispense at least one dose of Narcan when filling an opioid prescription.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a heavy toll on many people struggling with opioid addiction,” Bello said at a press conference. “The isolation, fear of receiving treatment, and other issues have led to an increase in overdoses and deaths over the past several months. We must aggressively pursue measures that will reverse this disturbing trend and help our community overcome this epidemic in the long run.”
Monroe County Executive Adam Bello joined Monroe County Legislator Justin Wilcox and Public Health Commissioner Michael Mendoza to announce the legislation called “Maisie’s Law” alongside Adam and MaryBeth Gillan. The Gillan’s daughter, for whom the bill is named, was 9-months old when she died after visiting a neighbor’s house where an opioid had dropped on the floor and Maisie ate it.
The law would require pharmacies to provide Narcan, an opioid overdose emergency treatment, to anyone who has a prescription for an opioid unless that individual opts-out in writing.
“By requiring pharmacies to dispense Narcan, we remove the stigma of asking for it, and we raise awareness of this life-saving drug,” Wilcox said.
According to the legislators, since the beginning of this year, Monroe County has recorded 65 opioid overdose deaths, a nearly 40 percent increase over the previous year’s total of 47. The county also said there have been 354 nonfatal overdoses this year, compared to 286 last year, an increase of 24 percent. Of the 65 fatal overdoses this year, 41 occurred between March and May. County health officials said they have received reports that fewer people are seeking treatment for opioid use disorder at detox centers and outpatient clinics.
“This year, as we deal with the pandemic, we cannot forget the other major public health crisis that has been plaguing our community. The opioid crisis has not gone away and, in fact, is deepening. Rather than become overwhelmed, we need to be steadfast in our resolve to help people suffering from addiction to opioids or other substances,” Mendoza said.