June 9th, 2020
Monroe County Executive Adam Bello and Monroe County Legislator Justin Wilcox were joined by Public Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza and Brighton parents Adam and MaryBeth Gillan today to announce legislation targeting the opioid crisis in our community called "Maisie's Law."
"The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a heavy toll on many people struggling with opioid addiction," Bello said. "The isolation, fear of receiving treatment and other issues have led to an increase in overdoses and deaths over the past several months. We must aggressively pursue measures that will reverse this disturbing trend and help our community overcome this epidemic in the long run."
Maisie's Law requires pharmacies to provide Narcan when dispensing an opioid medication. Narcan is an emergency treatment that counteracts the life-threatening effects of an opioid overdose.
The bill is being introduced by Democratic Legislator Justin Wilcox at tonight's meeting of the Monroe County Legislature. It requires pharmacies within Monroe County to dispense at least one dose of Narcan when filling an individual's opioid prescription unless that individual opts-out in writing.
Since Jan. 1, 2020, Monroe County has recorded 65 fatal opioid overdoses. That compares to 47 fatal overdoses at this time last year. In addition, there have been 354 nonfatal overdoses this year, compared to 286 nonfatal overdoses in 2019.
Of the 65 fatal overdoses this year, 41 occurred in March, April and May as the COVID-19 outbreak spread. County mental health officials say they are receiving reports that, during this timeframe, far fewer people sought treatment at detox centers and outpatient clinics.
"We need to act now, and we are. Over the coming weeks, I will unveil details about the work we are doing to dramatically scale up Monroe County's response to the opioid crisis," Bello said. "The measure Legislator Wilcox and I are announcing today is just a start. But it is critically important as we tackle this scourge that is tearing families apart and destroying lives."
During the press conference, Bello and Wilcox were joined by Adam and MaryBeth Gillan of Brighton. The Gillan's 9-month old daughter Maisie died after a family visit to a neighbor's house, where she consumed an opioid pill dropped on the floor.
"I am moved by the support today of the Gillans, whose tragic experience with opioids touched me deeply. Maisie's Law would not have saved their little girl, but it will save countless others," Wilcox said. "By requiring pharmacies to dispense Narcan, we remove the stigma of asking for it and we raise awareness of this life-saving drug."
"We cannot bring Maisie back, but we can honor her life by supporting actions that will extend the lives of so many other people who are suffering," the Gillans said. "We are grateful for the initiative being put forth today by Legislator Wilcox."
"This year, as we deal with the pandemic, we cannot forget the other major public health crisis that has been plaguing our community. The opioid crisis has not gone away and, in fact, is deepening. Rather than become overwhelmed, we need to be steadfast in our resolve to help people suffering from addiction to opioids or other substances," Mendoza said.