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Governor signs opioid legislation

May 25th, 2017 by WCBC Radio

Legislation to battle heroin and opioid overdoses in Maryland with education, prevention, treatment and law enforcement was signed into law Thursday by Gov. Larry Hogan.

Matt and Cheryl Godbey, whose 24-year-old daughter Emily died in November from a fentanyl overdose, came from Frederick, Maryland, for the bill-signing ceremony. Matt Godbey applauded a new law that will bring stiffer penalties to drug dealers who knowingly sell fentanyl resulting in a death. Fentanyl is a painkiller that is often combined with heroin, with deadly results.

Drug dealers were so aggressive in selling drugs to his daughter, Godbey said, they would pull up to the drive-thru window at the fast-food restaurant where she worked to place drugs in front of her when she was trying to quit.

"It killed her so fast, she couldn't even close her eyes. They found her sitting in a chair with her eyes open," Matt Godbey said. "We just don't want other families to hurt like we are."

One measure is called the HOPE Act. It requires hospitals to set a new protocol for discharging patients treated for substance abuse disorders. It creates a 24-hour emergency hotline and establishes a 24/7 crisis treatment center for people experiencing mental health and substance abuse crises. It also increases access to the overdose-reversal drug known as naloxone. The bill also provides added funding for community behavioral health providers.

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