House Passes Bill Aimed at Cracking Down on Opioid Epidemic

CHARLESTON– A bill aimed at cracking down on the opioid epidemic in the state passed through the House of Delegates today.

Senate Bill 273 would limit the initial amount of opioid drugs that can be prescribed at a time to most patients, and require a practitioner to reassess the patient before making additional prescriptions.

The bill does not place dosage limits on cancer patients, long-term care facility patients, or those receiving hospice care from a licensed hospice or palliative care provider.

The bill would allow subsequent prescriptions if the medical provider deems it necessary and appropriate, and documents that the subsequent prescription does not pose a risk of abuse or addiction.

The bill also requires prescribers to check with the Controlled Substances Monitoring Program Database. A House amendment to the bill also requires health care practitioners to advise patients seeking help for pain of other treatment alternatives, including physical therapy, occupational therapy, acupuncture, massage therapy, osteopathic manipulation, a chronic pain management program, and chiropractic services.

Senate Bill 273 passed on a 97-1 vote. It now goes back to the Senate to approve House changes to the bill before it can be sent to the Governor for his signature.

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