Since the opioid epidemic in Michigan continues to worsen, Governor Rick Snyder and the lawmakers of the state have decide to educate the locals on the hazards of drug abuse in order to combat this epidemic. They are also looking for ways through which prescription drugs can be tracked more easily and effectively.
On March 23rd, an announcement about a new legislation was made by the governor, lieutenant governor and select bipartisan state legislators. Under this legislation, locals will be educated about drug abuse, minors will not be able to receive a prescription without their parent’s consent and there will be limitations on the amount of opioids that can be prescribed. Furthermore, an electronic database system will be set up where updates will have to be made so that the drug history of patients can be tracked.
Under the new legislation that has been announced:
- Prescribers will only be able to prescribe Schedule II-IV controlled substances after they have acquired reports from the new Michigan Automatic Prescription System (MAPS)
- Pharmacists and physicians who unlawfully dispense, distribute, manufacture or prescribe controlled substances will be heavily penalized
- The Prescription Drug & Opioid Abuse Commission will provide education on addiction and drug abuse on the basis of recommendations
- Education on addiction and opioids will be included in school curriculums
- Prescribers who prescribe a controlled substance will have to provide the patient all the necessary information, especially about the dangers and the potential of addiction.
- Physicians treating patients suffering from addiction will have to provide them with information on substance abuse
- Limitations will be implemented on the amount of opioids that can be prescribed
- Pain management facilities will have to obtain a license from the state
- Medicaid beneficiaries who have an opioid addiction will receive treatment options
- Pharmacists who refuse to fill prescriptions will be safe from civil liability
- Minors will only be able to obtain their first prescription of an opioid controlled substance with parental consent and signature
A conference was held back in 2015, where Rick Snyder mentioned the nearly 2,000 deaths that had occurred in Michigan that year as a result of drug overdoses. He even added that the opioid-related prescription practices in the state are immensely problematic. According to him, approximately 180 million opioids had been prescribed in the state back in 2007 and ever since, that number has risen tremendously. In fact, the governor recently reported that 690 million opioids had been prescribed back in 2016.
According to Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley, April will mark the launch of the new Michigan Automated Prescription System. Through this user-friendly system, prescribers will be able to will be able to easily acquire information about controlled substances and Schedule II-IV drugs that have been prescribed to a patient in the past.
Despite the announcement of this new legislation, Rick Snyder has claimed that it alone will not prove to be effective and that there is plenty more that needs to be done. According the Michigan’s Governor, even though good measures are being taken, they are not enough. He believes that the culture within the state needs to be improved and the locals need to support each other in order to deal with the opioid epidemic.