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2/13/2018 Speaker Mattiello introduces bill allowing patients to opt for a non-opiate directive with health care providers
STATE HOUSE — Taking aim once again at the opioid crisis, Speaker of the House Nicholas A. Mattiello (D-Dist. 15, Cranston) has introduced legislation that would empower patients to curb the possibility of opiate addiction.

The bill (2018-H 7496) would establish a procedure for individuals to file a revocable voluntary non-opiate directive form with the patient’s licensed health care practitioner. The form would indicate to all practitioners that the patient would not be administered or offered a prescription or medication order for an opiate.

“We need to work from every angle in combatting the opioid epidemic,” said Speaker Mattiello. “This is a crisis that is tearing apart families and communities, and the next step must be strengthening our prescription laws. This bill will attack the epidemic right where it starts by putting a speed bump in the prescription procedure, forcing all parties to slow things down and take a closer look at the danger of opiates.”

This is the second piece of legislation Speaker Mattiello has introduced this year to address the opioid crisis. The first bill (2018-H 7416) would allow a pharmacist to dispense a partial fill of a Schedule II controlled substance at the request of either the patient or the prescriber.

Under the provisions of that legislation, subsequent fills would have to be dispensed at the same pharmacy where the original prescription was partially filled, and the total quantity dispensed could not exceed the total quantity prescribed. After 30 days, the prescription would expire.

“Over the past few years, the General Assembly has enacted laws focusing on education, treatment and substance abuse programs” said Speaker Mattiello. “Now we have to focus on preventing addiction and lowering the number of pills that are in circulation. These two bills will go a long way in getting that accomplished and ultimately ending the opioid scourge that has brought so much sorrow to so many.”

The Centers for Disease Control published guidelines for the prescribing of opioids for chronic pain. Among the agency’s recommendations are limiting the dosage and coming up with a plan to mitigate the risk of addiction. While the CDC’s guidelines are a set of voluntary recommendations aimed at health providers, some states have begun to explore how to combat the crisis through legislation. Last year, Massachusetts passed comprehensive legislation based on the guidelines, including the creation of a non-opiate directive form.

Speaker Mattiello’s legislation, which is cosponsored by Representatives Mia Ackerman (D-Dist. 45, Cumberland, Lincoln), Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston), John G. Edwards (D-Dist. 70, Tiverton, Portsmouth) and Patricia Serpa (D-Dist. 27, West Warwick, Coventry, Warwick), has been referred to the House Committee on Health, Education and Welfare.

For more information, contact:
Daniel Trafford, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903