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Rep. Cody and Sen. Van De Wege pre-file bills placing restrictions on opioid prescriptions

Last week, Rep. Cody and Sen. Van De Wege pre-filed separate bills aimed, in part, at addressing the opioid crisis in Washington State.

Rep. Eileen Cody’s HB 2272 outlines new restrictions on opioid prescriptions. The bill states, when issuing a patient’s first opioid prescription, a practitioner may not issue more than a seven-day supply to patients aged 21+ and may not issue more than a 3-day supply for those under 21. The bill also states that when issuing more than a 3-day supply, practitioners must communicate risks of addiction and overdose, dangers of taking opiates with other medicines and alcohol, and must obtain written consent from the patient that they understand these risks.

On Friday, Senator Kevin Van De Wege filed SB 6028 which deals with reenacting and amending details of Washington’s Prescription Drug Monitoring program. One added section of the proposed legislation includes requiring practitioners to review a patient’s entire controlled substance history before issuing any new opiate or benzodiazepine prescriptions.

These latest legislative announcements are two of the many actions Washingtonian leaders have taken recently in response to the opioid crisis in Washington State. In September, AG Ferguson filed a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma INC, accusing Purdue of:

“fueling the opioid epidemic in Washington state, embarking on a massive deceptive marketing campaign and convincing doctors and the public that their drugs are effective for treating chronic pain and have a low risk of addiction, contrary to overwhelming evidence.”

Gov. Inslee has also taken steps to address this issue. At the beginning of November, Inslee announced the formation of a health subcabinet focused on substance abuse, the opioid epidemic, and the integration of behavioral health. In a letter to Washington health organizations he wrote that the subcabinet would develop a strategic plan for state hospital reform, developing community resources, planning for health integration, and for the formation of an interlocal leadership structure.

“The mental health and opioid crises are interrelated and complex,” said Inslee. “It is crucial that we use all the ingenuity we have to step up to work harder and smarter and do everything we can to help Washingtonians get the care they need. That is why I am pulling together state agencies to accelerate our efforts.”

Gov. Inslee also recently announced the details of his supplemental budget which includes $20 million toward a multi-pronged effort to fight the opioid epidemic.

According to Results Washington, in 2016 there were 694 opioid-related deaths in Washington, over 14,000 opioid substance abuse treatment admissions, and 259,000 persons 12+ years who used prescription opioids non-medically.

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