Michigan State Representative Julie Brixie
State Representative Julie Brixie's office submitted these responses to the American Opioid Podcast on 3/12/2019 7:19:11 AM.
What district of Michigan do you represent?
Briefly, how would you describe the opioid crisis in your state?
The opioid abuse and overdose crisis is such a widespread issue in Michigan that almost every individual in the state has a story of how they were personally, and often tragically, impacted by the epidemic. Michigan doctors write more opioid prescriptions annually than there are residents living in the state and deaths from suicide and unintentional overdoses across the state have tripled since 1999, particularly for young people and those living in our rural communities, which are being disproportionately ravaged by this crisis.
What are the two or three most significant bills that have been introduced in your chamber to help alleviate the opioid crisis in your state?
This session, House Bill 4056 has been introduced to recognize the high rate at which correction officers encounter drug overdoses while conducting routine wellness checks by enabling them to carry and immediately administer life-saving opioid antagonists.
In the last legislative session, two bills, HBs 4406-4407, were introduced with the intention of requiring public school districts to provide comprehensive and appropriate instruction on prescription drug abuse with the intention of educating young people on the risks of misuse and the connection between prescription drugs and overdoses. Additionally, HB 4408 requires prescribers writing an opioid prescription to a minor to obtain informed consent from their parent and guardian that they knew the risks associated with the drugs, and would require prescribers to provide additional information about the consequences of drug abuse, including the possibility of criminal charges.
What was your involvement, if any, in those bills (e.g., introduction, advocacy, vote pledge)?
I am proud to be a cosponsor of HB 4056. Unfortunately, I was not yet in the legislature to introduce or vote for HBs 4406, 4407 and 4408, but I have been an advocate for opioid reform throughout my life, including while I was the treasurer of Meridian Township for a decade.
Have any of the bills passed? If not, why?
HBs 4406-4408 passed and were enacted as laws. HB 4056 is currently in committee, but as a bill with strong bipartisan support in a legislature committed to curbing this epidemic, I believe there is reason to expect it will be given a vote in the House and potentially become a public act.
What was the most memorable experience you had while learning about the opioid crisis in your state?
As someone who has seen the tragic consequences the opioid crisis has had on a loved one, this issue has always been personal for me. I grew up in Chicago, but after moving to the well-educated community I now represent in Michigan, I was shocked by the realization that the epidemic in Michigan was so severe that it had touched every community across the state.
If you had a magic wand that allowed you to pass any legislation you wanted in order to help alleviate the opioid crisis in your state, what would that legislation look like?
I would focus my efforts on enacting laws that ensure existing opioid treatments, including opioid antagonists as well as comprehensive resources for recovery, were accessible, affordable, and encouraged to individuals struggling with opioid abuse.
Are there any additional thoughts you would like to share?
This issue is something that I have personal experience with. My predecessor, who last session was the House Minority Leader, introduced a number of bills aimed at mitigating the epidemic, and I hope that as my time in the legislature moves forward I will be able to continue pushing for reforms that reduce instances of abuse, provide resources to those recovery from addiction and overdose, and ensure that opioid prescriptions are only written in circumstances where there is genuine medical need.