House passes Speaker Mattiello’s bills empowering patients to curb possibility of opioid addiction
STATE HOUSE — The House of Representatives today passed two pieces of legislation introduced by Speaker of the House Nicholas A. Mattiello (D-Dist. 15, Cranston) that would empower patients to curb the possibility of opiate addiction. Both bills now head to the Senate for consideration.
The first bill (2018-H 7416) would give patients the option of only partially filling their prescription for painkillers. It 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.
“The opioid epidemic is one of the biggest tragedies of our time, and finding new ways to tackle it continues to be a challenge,” said Speaker Mattiello. “This legislation will allow and encourage prescribers, patients and pharmacists to work together, and empower patients to limit the number of unused pills that are left in their medicine chests, which is where opioid addiction begins.”
Under the provisions of the 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.
The second bill (2018-H 7496A) 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. These bills 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.”
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.
“One of the things we’ve heard about the opioid crisis from the CDC is that almost 80 percent of people who are at the highest risk of overdose initially acquired pills that were legally prescribed to someone — either themselves, a friend of a relative,” said Speaker Mattiello. “This is an important step in reducing the number of pills that are out there.”
For more information, contact:
Daniel Trafford, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903