Senator Chris Eaton Responds to Opioid Legislation
Lawmakers reached an 11th-hour deal in response to the opioid epidemic. That is good news for Sen. Chris Eaton, DFL-Brooklyn Center, who fought for opioid reform.
The bill means Minnesota could become the first state in the nation to establish a separate fund for opioid addiction treatment.
For Eaton and others, this was a huge political victory. Eaton received congratulations via text Tuesday from Governor Tim Walz, who assured her he will sign the bill.
The opioid battle became personal for Eaton, who lost her daughter, Ariel, because of an overdose 12 years ago.
“I was pretty rung out, but I’m just starting to really feel it,” Eaton said. “I don’t have to spend my life day and night working on this bill anymore. Now we can just start making sure it’s implemented correctly. It was a rough road.”
Fee Could Raise $20 million
The bill would generate more than $20 million from a fee on drug companies. The money would pay for treatment options related to opioids.
But the bill does not provide funding for Naloxone, a drug used to treat overdoses. That news was disappointing to Eaton, who believes access to Naloxone might have saved her daughter.
“In negotiations it was on the spread sheet for $200,000 every year,” Eaton said. “Somehow the revisers got it to $200,000 for the biennium, so they lost $100,000 a year. We need to fix that next year.”
Eaton says a couple lawmakers told her that funding for Naloxone would be addressed in 2020.