The RI State Senate voted Tuesday to approve several bills supported by its Health and Human Services Committee to address the recent increase in drug overdose deaths in the region.
“Addressing this epidemic will require approaching it from a number of sides, through drug abuse prevention and treatment efforts and broadening doctors’ ability to prescribe the safest treatments to their patients and to ensure that they are following their treatment plan,” said HHS Chairman Joshua Miller (D-Dist. 28, Cranston, Providence).
One of the bills the Senate approved today addresses health insurance coverage for people with opioid substance use disorder and chronic addiction. Sponsored by Sen. Paul V. Jabour (D-Dist. 5, Providence) the bill (2014-S 2801Aaa) would:
Also approved today was legislation (2014-S 2523A) sponsored by Sen. Christopher Scott Ottiano (R-Dist. 11, Portsmouth, Bristol) to address prescription drug diversion. The bill amends Rhode Island’s electronic prescription drug monitoring program in two ways:
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost all prescription drugs involved in overdoses originally come from prescriptions. Very few come from pharmacy theft. However, once they are prescribed and dispensed, prescription drugs are frequently diverted to people using them without prescriptions.
Forty-nine states, the District of Columbia, and one U.S. territory (Guam) have legislation authorizing the creation and operation of a prescription drug monitoring program to monitor controlled substances as defined by federal and state controlled substances law.
Additionally the Senate approved a bill (2014-S 2561) sponsored by Sen. Maryellen Goodwin (D-Dist. 1, Providence) which would require the Department of Health to promulgate rules and regulations regarding a system of electronic data transmissions of prescriptions for controlled substances.
The three bills approved today, all of which will now be forwarded to the House, are part of a portfolio the Health and Human Services Committee this year to address the growing problems of drug abuse and overdose. The package also includes: