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Texas House Select Committee on Opioids and Substance Abuse releases report

Four Price
Today, the comprehensive committee report of the House Select Committee on Opioids and Substance Abuse was released to the public.

The Select Committee, chaired by State Representative Four Price and comprised of 13 House members, was tasked by the Speaker's Proclamation to "develop and present concrete principles and action items to reduce the scourge of opioids in Texas and to provide legislative solutions to address these issues, as well as examine other topics related to substance abuse in Texas."

"The Select Committee accomplished everything outlined in the proclamation," stated Chair Price. "All members of the committee took the work seriously. We conducted 6 robust hearings with over 70 invited expert witness testimonies including healthcare practitioners, first responders, judges, county officials, health plans and treatment providers. We also heard great testimony from the public. This led to the committee producing a detailed report outlining the current challenges, including recommendations that can make a positive impact if enacted by the Texas Legislature," further stated Price.

The 108 page report describes the prevalence and impact of substance use and substance use disorders in Texas, in general, and specifically with respect to pregnant women, persons involved with Child Protective Services, the homeless, veterans, and those with a mental health illness. The report also includes a discussion on how specialty courts, law enforcement, first responders and emergency department personnel interface with those overdosing on or addicted to these substances. The report also discusses Texas' prescription monitoring program and Good Samaritan law.

Some notable recommendations in the report included:

Encouraging doctors to make opioids a last option for pain management

Enacting "Good Samaritan" laws to legally protect people who help someone who is overdosing

Making more medication assisted treatment options available for doctors and patients

Expanding drug courts

Requiring out-of-state pharmacies to report when they dispense controlled substances to Texans

Putting overdose prevention drugs like naloxone in first aid kits

"Our committee's work was a heavy lift during this interim year. Thus, I thank my committee colleagues for their diligent commitment to understanding and arriving at substantive policy recommendations to this challenging public health issue that directly affects the lives of many Texans and their families in a very personal manner and also impacts every community and neighborhood across our state. I also take this opportunity to acknowledge the outstanding and professional support I received from our committee director Sandra Talton, as well as, my entire staff.

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