McKnight updates on House bills relative to opioid abuse issues

by | March 30, 2018 9:13 am

Last Updated: March 29, 2018 at 9:00 am

The House of Representatives will be on furlough during the final week of March to lower operating costs and save taxpayer dollars. The House will reconvene April 3.
The House of Representatives has approved seven bills that draw upon the work of the special House Opioid Abuse Prevention Study Committee that was appointed by the Speaker of the House to examine the growing misuse of prescription painkillers and recommend legislative actions to counter the epidemic of ruinous addiction and fatal overdoses.
The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4603, legislation imposing new limitations on initial prescriptions of an opioid medication for acute pain management or postoperative pain management. Under the bill, Initial opioid prescriptions for acute pain management or postoperative pain management must not exceed a seven‑day supply, except when clinically indicated for chronic pain, cance pain, hospice care, palliative care, major trauma, major surgery, treatment of sickle cell anemia, or medication‑assisted treatment for substance abuse. Upon any subsequent consultation for the same pain, the practitioner may issue any appropriate renewal, refill or new opioid prescription. The limitation does not apply when a practitioner orders an opioid prescription to be wholly administered in a hospital, nursing home, hospice facility or residential care facility.
The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3826, legislation that requires a written prescription for any Schedule II, III, IV, and V controlled substance to be written on a tamper-resistant prescription pad that meets the counterfeit-resistant standards required by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services for prescriptions.
Prescription orders transmitted by facsimile, orally or electronically are exempt from the tamper-resistant prescription pad requirement. The tamper-resistant prescription pad requirements do not apply to refill prescriptions of an original written prescription that was issued before the effective date of this act. A pharmacy may fill a prescription written on a non-tamper-resistant pad on an emergency basis as long as the pharmacy receives a compliant written prescription within 72 hours after the date on which the prescription was filled.
The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3825, a bill that makes provisions for the Department of Health and Environmental Control to use information in the state prescription monitoring program system to provide prescription report cards to health care practitioners who prescribe controlled substances to inform them about their prescribing trends compared to other practitioners.
The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4600, a bill providing authorization for community distributors of opioid antidotes as a means of preventing overdose deaths. Under the legislation, a prescriber acting in good faith and exercising reasonable care may directly, or by standing order, prescribe an opioid antidote to a community distributor for the purpose of distributing the opioid antidote to those at risk of experiencing an opiate‑related overdose or to their caregivers.
A community distributor is a public or private organization which provides substance use disorder assistance and services, such as counseling, homeless services, advocacy, harm reduction, alcohol and drug screening, and treatment to individuals at risk of experiencing an opioid-related overdose. A community distributor that distributes an opioid antidote in accordance with the provisions of this legislation is not subject to civil or criminal liability.
The Board of Medical Examiners and the Board of Pharmacy are charged with issuing a written joint protocol to authorize a community distributor to distribute an opioid antidote without a patient‑specific written order or prescription to a person at risk of experiencing an opioid‑related overdose or to a caregiver of such a person, and without the requirement for a pharmacist to dispense the opioid antidote.
This protocol is to be developed by an advisory committee appointed by the Board of Medical Examiners and the Board of Pharmacy with a membership must include representatives of the Department of Health and Environmental Control, the Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services, and health care professionals licensed in the state.
The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4602, a bill expanding the prescription monitoring program database to include in formation on the administration of opioid antidotes.
The legislation establishes protocols for the timely submission to the database of the date an opioid antidote was administered, the dosage and route of administration, and the name, address, and date of birth of the person to whom the opioid antidote was administered, if available, that apply when an opioid antidote is administered in a hospital emergency department or other health care facility or by a first responder.
DHEC is required to maintain data on the administering of opioid antidotes including the frequency with which opioid antidotes are administered in health care facilities and by first responders by geographic location. The legislation requires a health care practitioner or the practitioner’s delegate to review a patient’s opioid antidote administration history in addition to the patient’s controlled substance prescription history before issuing a prescription for a Schedule II controlled substance.
For information on any of these bills, visit www.scstatehousegov. If you have a comment or opinion concerning the matters discussed in this report, or if I may be of assistance to you at any time, please feel free to call your legislative office in Columbia at (803) 212-6926 or in Kingstree at (843) 374-4529; or write P.O. Box 688, Lake City, SC 29560. Thank you for the opportunity to serve you in the House of Representatives.

Rep. Cezar McKnight represents District 101 in the South Carolina House of Representatives. The district covers Clarendon and Williamsburg counties.

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