Senate OKs Zorn’s bill to help prevent opioid abuse

Sen. Dale Zorn

Sen. Dale Zorn

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate on Thursday approved Sen. Dale Zorn’s legislation to help combat the state’s growing opioid addiction epidemic.

“Opioid abuse is impacting every community in our state and nation, and Monroe and Lenawee counties have been one of the hardest hit,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “This is about taking every step we can to end an opioid addiction epidemic that killed roughly 2,000 Michigan residents in 2015, while also ensuring that patients in severe pain have access to necessary medications.”

Senate Bill 47 would remove existing reporting exemptions and 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.

The state recently announced that it will fund a full integration of MAPS into Michigan health systems, physician groups and pharmacies that apply.

“It is critical that we have a quick and accurate prescription database that doctors can use to check a patient’s history and stop the practice of doctor shopping to get multiple prescriptions,” Zorn said. “Abusers are taking advantage of the system to get excessive amounts of dangerously addictive drugs. This legislation would help protect our communities from opioid abuse, save lives and maintain access to pain medications for patients who truly need them.”

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

SBs 166 and 167 would require doctors who prescribe Schedule 2 through Schedule 5 controlled substances to use MAPS. SB 270 would require doctors prescribing Schedule 2 through Schedule 5 controlled substances to have a bona fide prescriber-patient relationship with the patient and provide follow-up care to patients receiving such drugs.

SB 273 would require any health care professional who treats a patient for an opioid-related overdose to provide information to the patient regarding substance abuse treatments. SB 274 would limit prescriptions to seven days for acute pain in cases like a sprained ankle or getting wisdom teeth removed.

The bills now head to the House of Representatives for further consideration.