North Dakota State Senator Howard C. Anderson Jr.
State Senator Howard C. Anderson Jr.'s office submitted these responses to the American Opioid Podcast on 3/26/2019 10:40:13 AM.
What district of North Dakota do you represent?
Briefly, how would you describe the opioid crisis in your state?
A serious issue which has peaked but is still at a high level.
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?
Four years ago, we required each board to adopt rules requiring access and use of the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program for patient situations each board thought was important. Pharmacy, Medicine, Nursing and Dentistry have all done so as of two years ago.
The following have also been introduced:
-Drug fatalities review panel (state wide peer review)
-Needle exchange legislation (enhanced this year to include residue in the syringe)
-Good Samaritan Law
-Naloxone availability and prescribing for pharmacists.
We have a state wide coalition called Reducing Narcotics in Our Communities which has been active for 7 years and has been the genesis of much of my legislation.
We have revised many of our mental health boards to make it easier for applicants to get licensed.
What was your involvement, if any, in those bills (e.g., introduction, advocacy, vote pledge)?
I have sponsored most of them and advocated for others.
Have any of the bills passed? If not, why?
They have all passed. Because of the Coalition and good work by advocates, including state agencies like the Health Department, HHS and the respective licensing boards.
What was the most memorable experience you had while learning about the opioid crisis in your state?
When testifying on my good Samaritan bill a young fellow named Tyer Auck said he had left a friend in an overdose situation and his friends had tried to put him in a garbage dumpster when he was in a similar situation. Tyler is now an Addiction Counselor.
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?
Prevention for all young people. Additionally, I would want advertisements that show the nature of the disease of Substance Use Disorder and ask "Why would you expose yourself to this?"
Are there any additional thoughts you would like to share?
Everyone needs to work together to reverse the years we spent getting into this mess. And yes, the drug companies, medicine and pharmacy all bear part of the responsibility for where we are.