House committee OKs Zorn’s opioid abuse prevention bill

Sen. Dale Zorn

Sen. Dale Zorn

LANSING, Mich. — The House Health Policy Committee on Wednesday approved Sen. Dale Zorn’s legislation to help combat the state’s growing opioid addiction epidemic.

“The abuse of prescription and illegal opioids is the deadliest drug epidemic in American history, and we have seen the terrible impacts here in Monroe and Lenawee counties,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “We must address the supply of these medications if we are serious about ending an opioid addiction epidemic that killed roughly 2,000 Michigan residents in 2015, an increase of 25 percent in two years.

“While we stop abusers from taking advantage of the system to get excessive amounts of dangerously addictive drugs, we must also ensure continued access to pain medications for patients who truly need them.”

Senate Bill 47 would mandate more use by prescribers and dispensers of the Michigan Automated Prescription System (MAPS), a state-run program that tracks patients and prescribers for over-supply of Schedule 2 through Schedule 5 controlled substances.

Earlier this year, the state announced that it will fund a full integration of MAPS into Michigan health systems, physician groups and pharmacies that apply.

“It is critical that doctors have a quick and accurate prescription database to check a patient’s history,” Zorn said. “This bill gives doctors another tool to recognize potential addiction that can lead to early substance abuse treatment and would help stop doctor shopping that leads to addiction.

“Opioid abuse is a complex problem. My bill is part of a common-sense, grassroots approach to a comprehensive solution to protect our communities, save lives and maintain access to necessary pain medications.”

Zorn’s bill is part of a Senate package to help curtail the rising opioid abuse epidemic.

The bills now head to the full House for consideration.