03/25/2019
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A bill to toughen Opioid Misuse Laws has passed the NC House and is now working its way through the NC Senate.  The bill, titled “Strengthen Opioid Misuse Prevention (STOP)Act” has been referred to the NC Senate Rules and Operations Committee.

According to a study performed by Castlight Health, North Carolina has four of the Top 25 cities in the nation for opioid misuse. They are Wilmington, Fayetteville, Jacksonville and Hickory.

The bill will require providers who prescribe schedule II controlled substances and pharmacists who fill the prescriptions to register with the Controlled Substances Reporting System. This system will allow providers and pharmacists to view a patient’s prescription history. It also clarifies and establishes what type of information is to be submitted to the CSRS. The bill also calls for annual reporting to begin in February 2019 to the following: “Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services, the North Carolina Medical Board, the North Carolina Board of Podiatry Examiners, the North Carolina Board of Nursing, the North Carolina Dental Board, the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Board, and the North Carolina Board of Pharmacy on data reported to the controlled substances reporting system. ”

The bill also calls for Physician’s Assistants and Nurse Practitioners who prescribe controlled substances to consult with a physician. The bill also establishes penalties for those failing to properly report to the Controlled Substances Reporting System. The bill also makes it mandatory that any violations be reported.

NC Rep. Brenden Jones co-sponsored the bill. In a written statement, Rep. Jones said, “Over the last several years, there has been an ongoing opioid abuse problem across the country.  In North Carolina, we have 4 of the top 25 cities in the country for opioid abuse rate.*  This is a crisis that is causing people to lose their lives, displacing families, and wreaking havoc on many neighborhoods.

What HB243 does is attempt to address this problem by expanding the role of the Department of Health and Human Services to detect and prevent fraud and misuse.  In addition, it provides a more stringent set of guidelines for physicians.  For example, it requires that physicians consult with physician assistants and nurse practitioners who prescribe certain controlled substances.  The bill also requires that physicians refer to a controlled substance database and inspect a patient’s history of prescription usage.

The STOP Act is a preventative and pro-active piece of legislation and it is the first step in a long process that attempts to address the continuing threat of opioid abuse in our state.  I am proud to be a co-sponsor of the bill, which passed the House unanimously, and has been referred to the Senate.”

To read the bill in its entirety, click here.

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