Sen. Zorn hears update from Gov. Snyder and HHS Secretary Price on opioid epidemic

Senate committee takes up Zorn’s bill aimed at stopping prescription drug abuse

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn was invited by Gov. Rick Snyder to hear an update from U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price on Tuesday regarding the progress at the federal level to combat the growing opioid addiction epidemic.

“Nearly 2,000 people died from drug abuse in 2015 in Michigan, a 13 percent increase from 2014, and Monroe County has been one of the state’s hardest hit communities,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “I look forward to working with the governor and the federal government on doing all we can to address the opioid addiction epidemic plaguing our region, state and entire country.”

Price said the federal government is providing $485 million in funding to support prevention, treatment and recovery services. The funding will be awarded based on rates of overdose deaths and unmet need for opioid addiction treatment.

After the update, the Senate Health Policy Committee heard testimony on Zorn’s legislation to help prevent prescription drug abuse in Michigan. Senate Bill 47 would eliminate reporting exemptions for controlled substance samples, methadone treatment centers and buprenorphine prescribers.

“It is critical that we have a prescription database that doctors can use to check patient history that is quick, easy to use and accurate,” Zorn said. “We also need to end reporting exemptions that patients are taking advantage of to get their hands on excessive amounts of dangerously addictive drugs.”

Zorn’s bill would require more reporting of controlled substances to the Michigan Automated Prescription System (MAPS), which is the prescription monitoring program for the state and tracks patients and prescribers for over-supply of Schedule 2 through Schedule 5 controlled substances. Two drugs that would be reported under the bill are methadone and buprenorphine.

“MAPS should be an effective tool to stop the practice of patients going to several doctors to get multiple prescriptions,” Zorn said. “This is about protecting our communities and saving lives. Eliminating reporting exemptions in MAPS will help us combat drug abuse by increasing access to important information about who is getting these controlled substances and how often they are getting them.”