Governor Expands Drug Treatment for All

There are major concerns in the battle of addiction, and in today's society, the word "addict" is somewhat common and known, yet fully not understood.  There are major changes happening around the country that are promoting wellness from the disease of addiction.  It is an uphill battle, long and tedious, but trudging forward with the battle, state legislatures are taking action.

On August 6th, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signed a bill requiring health insurance companies to cover two weeks of inpatient treatment for people battling drug addiction.

The measure is intended to make accessing treatment for drug addiction on par with other medical treatments, which experts see as a key step to reduce the rising rate of deaths by drug overdose. More than 16,000 people die in the United States each year from overdoses of prescription painkillers alone, with more succumbing to heroin and other illegal narcotics.

"This law puts Massachusetts on the leading edge of access to addiction treatment and recovery services," Patrick, a Democrat, said at a statehouse ceremony to sign the bill. "Those battling the effects of addiction should never face barriers to treatment."

Patrick in June unveiled a $20 million package of proposals to tackle what he called a crisis of addiction in the state and convened a meeting with four other New England governors to develop ways for the states to work together on fighting addiction.

U.S. Senator Edward Markey of Massachusetts, speaking at an event earlier in the day, said the nation as a whole should follow the state's lead in stepping up its battle against addiction to opioid drugs, both legal prescription painkillers such as Vicodin and Percocet, as well as heroin.

Expanding access to treatment for addicts should be a national priority, he said.

 (Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Eric Beech), Ref.