Legislation to fight the addiction crisis in Delaware--which hits home for many families--is signed into law by Governor John Carney.
"It's bittersweet, but it makes me feel good knowing that we're going to save lives," said Gail Humes with atTAcK Addiction.
Humes adds this is another step forward in the fight against addiction, which claimed her son, Greg.
"Far too many Delawareans, and Delaware families, have been affected by this crisis," said Governor Carney. "These new laws represent a significant step forward in our efforts to combat Delaware’s addiction epidemic. To the Delaware families who have lost loved ones to addiction, and who are now fighting to prevent others from experiencing the same fate, your work is nothing short of inspiring."
The new laws will...
1. Prevent private insurers from using pre-authorization and referral requirements to delay access to substance abuse treatment;
2. Require insurance companies to cover 14 days of substance abuse treatment before conducting a "utilization review" that can delay treatment;
3. Limit insurance companies from denying substance abuse treatment based on "medical necessity" grounds;
4. Allow the Department of Justice to use consumer protection funds to advocate for those being denied coverage based on "medical necessity" grounds;
5. Establish a new committee to help oversee opioid prescriptions, and strengthen the oversight of over-prescription.
"The credit for these bills should go to the Delawareans who have overcome substance abuse, and the families who lost loved ones to drug overdoses, who stepped forward and shared their thoughts about where the system was failing and how it could be improved," said Attorney General Matt Denn. "We listened and tried to turn their suggestions into laws, but the ideas came from those families, and after giving us the ideas they stood shoulder to shoulder with us to make sure the bills were passed."
Some of those people who helped get those bills passed were there for the bill signings including MaryBeth Cichocki, who lost her son Matt over two years ago to an opioid addiction from prescription pills.
"I just wish that Matt was here then I can share it with him. It's been a lot of hard work, but it's worth every minute to know that we are going to be able to stop the over-prescribing in our state and save people's lives. It means so much to me to have been a part of this," said Cichocki.
Others are hoping the new laws can prevent the heartache and loss for others that they have experienced.
"The last place he went to was a rehab facility up in Pennsylvania," said Don Keister, a founder of atTAcK Addiction talking about his son Tyler. "He was turned away from help there, when he came back, I don't think he really knew exactly where to go or what to do. He went off to a motel to get high, and he never woke up from that event."
Others have already had a happier ending as spoke of her daughter Nicole, who has gone over three years in recovery, is now married and is scheduled to give birth on Wednesday.
Jones says there was a treatment in her cancer and her daughter's substance abuse disorder saying she was embraced when walking through the doors and needing treatment while her daughter was turned away.