FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 2, 2014
House Passes Legislation to Combat Substance Abuse Epidemic
Includes Several Measures to Curb Prescription Drug Abuse and Save Lives
(BOSTON) – State Representative Thomas A. Golden, Jr. joined his colleagues in the House of Representatives in voting unanimously to pass a bill that will increase access to substance abuse treatment as well as create several measures to combat the current epidemic.
The bill aims to increase access to treatment by requiring all insurance plans in the Commonwealth to cover acute treatment services, clinical stabilization, and medical detox for at least ten days. Patients will be able to access treatment without first having to obtain prior authorization. Additionally, licensed drug and alcohol counselors will be added to the list of covered specialists to allow providers to bill insurers for their services.
“This legislation is the first step in quelling the rise in substance addiction that is devastating the lives of people across the Commonwealth,” House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo said. “The bill provides the foundation for sustainable improvement by increasing access to care and changing the way we monitor and respond to unprecedented public health crises like the one we’re currently confronting.”
The bill creates several measures to combat abuse, including a provision to ensure access and utilization of abuse-deterrent pain medications. These medications are specially engineered to be more difficult to abuse. The bill expands the Drug Formulary Commission and requires them to recommend a list of abuse-deterrent, chemically-equivalent substitutions for opiates.
“Prescription drug abuse has reached epidemic proportions in our communities and we need to do more to battle this,” said Rep. Golden. “This bill will make it more difficult for those to abuse medications and will also prevent drugs from being altered for use other than prescribed. Technologies and products are on the market today that prevent someone from crushing, cutting, grinding, or abusing opiates. The DEA and others in law enforcement will attest that medications with abuse-deterrent properties are making a difference in helping combat abuse. This bill would ensure that they are accessible and utilized. It will save lives in our communities and our state.”
The bill also authorizes the Department of Public Health (DPH) to create a list of prescription drop boxes and other safe locations where people can dispose of excess prescription drugs.
“Education about prescription abuse is critical,” Rep. Golden added. “People need to know how important it is to take their medications as directed, store them securely, and properly dispose of them when no longer needed.”
Finally, the bill authorizes DPH to temporarily categorize a substance as “schedule I” on an emergency basis to avoid imminent hazard to public safety or to preserve public health.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 19, 2014
House Establishes Framework for Paroling Juvenile Murderers
(BOSTON) – State Representative Thomas A. Golden, Jr. joined his colleagues in the Massachusetts House of Representatives in passing legislation that creates a framework for determining parole eligibility for juveniles who have been convicted of first degree murder.
This legislation is in response to recent federal and state court rulings that declared life sentences without parole for juveniles to be unconstitutional.
The legislation applies to 14-18 year olds and creates two categories. The first category applies to those who have committed felony murders. These individuals would be eligible for parole in 20-25 years. The second category concerns those convicted of first degree murder who showed “deliberate premeditation with malice aforethought.” These individuals would be eligible for parole in 25-30 years.
The bill also protects the families of victims from having to testify excessively when a prisoner shows no signs of rehabilitation. The parole board may use a 10-year setback period to extend the period of time before a prisoner may next present themselves before a parole board.
Rep. Golden said, “In light of recent judicial decisions, this bill aims to protect the citizens of our Commonwealth while staying within the confines of the Constitution.”
Finally, the legislation changes the terms of violating parole for juvenile murders from committing a crime to committing a violent offense. This change safeguards juvenile offenders who are released on parole from violating their parole because of minor criminal behavior, such as operating an uninsured vehicle.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 06, 2012
House Passes Bill Authorizing $200 Million
for Municipal Road and Bridge Maintenance
I joined my colleagues in the Massachusetts House of Representatives last week in passing legislation to authorize $200 million for the maintenance and upkeep of municipal of roads and bridges across the Commonwealth, and a portion of that will be allocated to Lowell and Chelmsford for the upcoming fiscal year. This $200 million marks a continued commitment for Chapter 90 funding and demonstrates the House’s strong support to local road funding.
Promptly making these funds available to the City of Lowell and the Town of Chelmsford will give them the ability to maintain and make much-needed repairs on roads and bridges and will further ensure the safety of drivers across our state.
As a member of the House Committee on Bonding, Capital Expenditures and State Assets, I recognize the importance of this investment and I look forward to the results. This allocation of Chapter 90 funds will provide cities and towns with the necessary support to make repairs to ailing roads and bridges. These investments in our antiquated infrastructure will save the Commonwealth money overall, by driving new businesses and families into the state.
As always, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns about this or any thing else, please do not hesitate to call me at the office at 617-722-2020 or at home at 978-453-3069.
Thomas A. Golden Jr.
State Representative16th Middlesex District