Baker proposal seeks new steps to fight opioid addiction

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker speaks, Tuesday, July 11, 2017, during a rededication ceremony for the repaired New England Holocaust Memorial in Boston. One of the glass panes in the memorial was damaged by a vandal last month. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

BOSTON (AP) — Gov. Charlie Baker is urging lawmakers to approve further steps aimed at curbing the opioid addiction scourge that has claimed thousands of lives in Massachusetts in recent years.

A legislative committee holds a hearing Tuesday on a bill filed by Baker. The Republican governor says it will help assure access to specialized treatment for people suffering from addiction.

The legislation would authorize police officers and medical professionals to bring high-risk individuals to substance abuse treatment centers, even against their will, for up to 72 hours.

The bill also seeks to establish standards for credentialing “recovery coaches,” who help people to overcome addiction, and to allow all pharmacies to carry the overdose-reversal drug Naloxone.

Baker says the legislation builds on a wide-ranging opioid abuse law he signed in 2016.