There were plenty of smiles but also some tears Monday as Governor Tim Walz marked the day Minnesota’s new law to combat the opioid epidemic took effect. Lexi Reed Holtum with the Steve Rummler Hope Network says they’re helping 20 other states pass similar legislation, because what Minnesota did was a first. Holtum choked back tears as she said, “Today is the eight-year anniversary — today — of Steve’s death. And he was my fiance, and rather than planning our wedding, I ended up planning his funeral. And it is just such an honor and a privilege to get to do this work with all of you, and I’m so humbled and so grateful.”
The new law establishes a fund for prevention and treatment of opioid addiction in Minnesota, paid for by fees on drug manufacturers. It also sets up a special panel to advise the state Health Commissioner on how best to use the money.
Shelly Elkington told the assembled group, “Pharma greed stole my daughter from me” and “from day one,… the message was clear, that we were gonna hold big pharma accountable in the state of Minnesota. That message was never lost.”