Legislative Wrap Up: Bills Passed To Stem Substance Abuse, Reduce Restraint Use

Lawmakers this session approved bills that put in place new initiatives to stem substance abuse and opioid overdoses, change the way restraints and seclusion are used in Connecticut schools and limit the use of shackles on juveniles in court. Those were just some of the legislature’s health and safety measures reported on by C-HIT during the year. The session, which ended last week, was largely dominated by budget and transportation issues. Under the bills approved:

• Any prescriber supplying more than a 72-hour supply of a controlled substance must first review the patient’s record in a statewide database. In addition, practitioners must review the patient’s record at least every 90 days if prescribing for prolonged treatment.

Lawmakers Seek To Limit Use Of Shackles On Juveniles In Court

Concerns about the use of shackles on juveniles in court have prompted two lawmakers, Rep. Bruce Morris of Norwalk and Rep. Toni Walker of New Haven, to introduce legislation to limit the use of restraints. The proposals are in response to advocates’ concerns that juveniles are often shackled when they appear in court unless their attorneys ask that the restraints, which can include handcuffs, leg irons and belly chains, be removed. Morris, who chairs the General Assembly’s Black and Puerto Rican Caucus, said shackling is demeaning and can damage a child’s sense of self-worth. “It says, ‘I don’t trust you enough that you will honor the dignity of a court. You’re unmanageable,’” he said.