The fight against the opioid crisis may take a big step forward very soon. State representative Ben Smaltz , R-Auburn, pushed a bill to the governor’s desk that would stop opioid abusers from what is known as “doctor shopping.”
Senate Engrossed Act 221 would require doctors and pharmacists to check a prescription drug database before prescribing or dispensing an opioid or benzodiazepine.
According to Smaltz, this would put a hard stop to those wanting to abuse the system.
“I’d say that it’s very easy to go our and get 5, 6, 7 different prescriptions and go to 5, 6, 7 different pharmacies, fill that to either to fill someone’s addiction or to sell on the open market,” he explained.
The new bill would limit this by making doctors and pharmacists first check INSPECT, the statewide, online database that keeps records of patients’ controlled-substance prescription history.
Some may wonder what took so long for this law to surface? Smaltz says awareness of the opioid epidemic has come to an all-time high in recent years, which now helps lawmakers pass these sort of laws because the public better understands the issue.
Local pain management doctor David Bojrab of Pain Management Associates believes the bill would be effective.
“A lot of patients who get hooked on opioids, you end up using heroin, it started out they tried to get pain medications from doctors and doctors shopping and then when those doors closed, they get it from the street and they started using drugs like heroine,” he said. “So, I think the purpose of having this bill is to stop the initial use of recreational prescription drugs so it doesn’t grow into street drugs.
Smaltz expects Governor Eric Holcomb to sign his opioid bill into law by next week, maybe even as soon as Tuesday.