More States Push Against Opioid Abuse

Bills introduced at the state level would increase provider accountability for controlled substances.

The Michigan state Senate recently approved 2 bills that seek to prevent individuals from misusing prescription drugs in an effort to drive down overdoses, according to a press release.

Senate bills 166 and 267 were introduced by Sen Toya Schuitmaker (R-Lawton).

“The Legislature has remained committed to fighting the recent spike in opioid-related deaths head on; however, it is not something that can simply be legislated away,” Schuitmaker said in a press release. “Successfully combating this issue takes time and expertise and relies on diligent participation from everyone involved.”

Schuitmaker said that patients diverting from their prescribed course of treatment is the root cause of the opioid epidemic, according to the release.

The newly-introduced bills would bolster the state’s efforts against the opioid epidemic by shutting down drug diversion at the source.

“We have doctors and pharmacies who are willing to prescribe and fill medications for patients with no medical need and patients actively seeking out these types of doctors to illegally obtain prescription medicine,” Schuitmaker said. “Michigan currently has a system that tracks prescriptions, but many physicians don’t use it properly, or even at all.”

The legislation would require all prescribers to use the Michigan Automated Prescription System (MAPS). The system is designed to collect prescription drug data into a centralized database. Since the database is available to all prescribers and pharmacies in Michigan, legislators expect this new requirement to prevent drug diversion.

All prescribers must review a MAPS report prior to issuing a prescription for a schedule 2 through schedule 5 controlled substance, according to the release. The report includes data regarding which drugs a patient has taken and who issued the prescription.

Increased utilization of MAPS reports is expected to allow the prescriber to determine whether a patient may have a substance misuse disorder or if they are receiving multiple prescriptions from many different prescribers.

Under bill 166, physicians must also discuss what other controlled substances a patient may be taking to further determine their risk for misuse.

Additionally, bill 167 allows the state to administer penalties to healthcare professionals who do not comply with the new regulations. Providers who violate the proposed law would face probation, limitation, suspension, revocation, restitution, or fine, depending on the nature of the violation, according to the bill.

“This quick, three-second search allows healthcare professionals to see the full scope of a patient’s prescription history,” Schuitmaker concluded. “When something doesn’t look right, there will be a paper trail of information that investigators can follow, and violators will be dealt with accordingly.”

Both bills have been introduced to the Michigan House of Representatives, the release concluded.