Passed overwhelmingly, legislation preserves physician flexibility in multi-faceted approach to epidemic
Senator Carla Nelson (R-Rochester) helped pass bipartisan legislation that combats the ongoing opioid addiction crisis through a multi-faceted approach. The bill touches each level of the legal opiate distribution chain and creates a new Opiate Epidemic Response Account to fund initiatives that address opioid addiction.
“According to the National Safety Council, for the first time in United States history, individuals are more likely to lose their life due to an opioid overdose than a car accident,” said Senator Nelson. “Obviously, this is a crisis that cannot be ignored. This bill not only addresses the opioid crisis through a comprehensive approach, but it also preserves treatment flexibility for physicians and pharmacists. Lawmakers should not dictate how physicians prescribe medications, and this legislation preserves the patient-doctor relationship while still combating opioid addiction.”
After passing the Senate, the bill now heads to a conference committee with the House of Representatives where differences in the legislation passed by each respective body will be resolved.
Highlights of the legislation passed by the Senate include:
- Stronger restrictions on opiate prescriptions and refills.
- Prescription monitoring program to prevent overprescribing and “doctor shopping.”
- Public awareness, prevention, and education programs.
- Statewide access to effective treatment and recovery services.
- Continuing education for opioid prescribers.
- Research and development of evidence-based treatment programs.
- Stronger reporting by pharmaceutical companies.