On Wednesday, the Senate approved legislation to slow the rapid growth of opioid addiction in Oklahoma. Sen. A.J. Griffin is the Senate author of House Bill 2798 that creates the Opioid Overdose Fatality Review Board and House Bill 2931 to require the use of electronic prescribing for all scheduled drugs.
“These measures will help address the growing problem of opioid addiction, which is not only the number one cause of unintentional deaths in Oklahoma but across the nation,” said Griffin, R-Guthrie. “House Bill 2798 will help find and address the causes of this growing health epidemic and get addicts the help they need. House Bill 2931 will make it more difficult for addicts to get opioids by preventing them from creating fake paper prescriptions by authorizing the use of a federally-approved prescription software system for e-prescriptions.”
Under HB 2798, the Board will conduct case reviews of opioid overdose deaths of individuals 18 years or older; collect, analyze and interpret state and local data on opioid deaths; and develop a state and local database on those deaths. The Board will submit an annual statistical report on the incidences and causes of the opioid overdose deaths it has reviewed including recommendations for the medical and law enforcement system.
HB 2931 exempts licensed veterinarians, practitioners who experience temporary technological or electrical failure or other extenuating circumstance that prevents the prescription from being transmitted electronically, a practitioner, other than a pharmacist, who dispenses directly to an ultimate user, a practitioner who orders a controlled dangerous substance to be administered in a state-certified and recognized hospital, nursing home, hospice facility, a practitioner who writes a prescription to be dispensed by a pharmacy located on federal property, or a prescriber that has received a waiver or extension from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control. The measure provides circumstances under which electronic prescriptions are not to be used. It provides that a Schedule V controlled substance may not be filled or refilled more than five times after the date of the prescription. The measure also delays the effective date of the requirements for electronic prescribing depending on county population.
The bills, which now return to the House for final approval, were among the eight legislative recommendations made by the Oklahoma Commission on Opioid Abuse that Griffin created through legislation in 2016.