ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) – Several new state laws go into effect Monday, including one that says drug makers and distributors will help pay the price for the opioid epidemic.
Surrounded by advocates, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz signed a bill into law to help fight the opioid epidemic in the state.
“Sen. Eaton and I started working on this bill three years ago in her office, thinking about ways we could create a dedicated funding stream of money that can go directly to funding the solution,” said Lexi Reed Holtum, executive director of the Steve Rummler Hope Network.
House File 400 has been a long time in the making for Holtum and Sen. Chris Eaton, who both lost loved ones to opioid addiction.
“The taxpayers and the county taxpayers are paying the majority of the cost of this care – it’s been over $5 billion since the beginning of 2000 in Minnesota,” Sen. Eaton said.
The bill takes some of that burden off the taxpayer and places it on opioid manufacturers and distributors by imposing higher registration fees. It should raise about $21 million annually.
Part of the money will go for grants to fund prevention strategies, intervention, treatment and recovery. Some will go to counties to reimburse them for growing child protection costs.
The bill also allows funding for culturally-appropriate treatment for members of the state’s Native American Community.
“What this bill means is that first responders, lay community, child protection, treatment facilities will have access to, everybody and anybody in the state will have access to better quality education, prevention,” Holtum said.
Gov. Walz says implementation of the bill is crucial. A 19-person advisory committee will be formed to look at the outcomes already in the state and determine gaps in services to see where resources are needed.
Several states are looking at this new law in hopes of replicating it to save lives.