Michigan Bill Set To Put Limits On Prescriptions For Opioid Meds
Last week, Michigan State Representatives Chang, Chirkun, Darany, Dianda, Driskell, and Robinson introduced House Bill (HB) 6045. The bill, if passed, would amend the Michigan Public Health Code by restricting the amount of prescription opioid meds a prescriber can issue under certain circumstances.
The bill would limit prescribers to a 7-day supply of opioid medication for first-time adult patients. Prescribers would also not be able to give more than a 7-day supply to minors. These limitations, however, would not apply to drugs issued to treat opioid dependency or substance abuse. In addition to restrictions, the prescriber would be required to discuss the risks of opioid use to parents before issuing medication to a minor.
There are, of course, some exceptions allowed for prescribers, such as medical necessity. For example, treatment of an acute medical condition, chronic or cancer pain, and palliative care. So how will this bill change anything?
For one, prescribers who use exceptions will be required to document the reason, and specify why non-opioid alternative are not appropriate. Thus, prescriber accountability is increased, and the seriousness of prescribing opioids, due to their highly addictive nature, is underscored right out of the gate.
These restrictions are in line with the CDC’s recommended guidelines put forth earlier this year:
“When opioids are used for acute pain, clinicians should prescribe the lowest effective dose of immediate-release opioids and should prescribe no greater quantity than needed for the expected duration of pain severe enough to require opioids.”
In addition, several regulatory and policy approaches aimed at curtailing opiate abuse and overdoses are being addressed by Michigan legislature as part of a taskforce assembled by Gov. Snyder. It is expected there will be much more conversation about prescription drug-related topics in 2017.
About the Epidemic
According to the CDC, more than 28,000 people died from opioid-related overdoses in 2014. During the period from 1999-2014, the number of overdoses quadrupled.
Prescription painkillers are largely blamed for the massive increase, due to their highly addictive nature. Once addicted, some people switch to heroin when they can no longer afford or obtain medication.
~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology