This past year, I served on Governor Snyder’s Prescription Drug and Opioid Abuse Task Force with members of law enforcement, the medical community, and addiction specialists. We were tasked with creating a comprehensive plan to combat and treat this growing epidemic that has affected every community in our state.
Michigan’s overdose death rate is nearly double that of the national average. In an effort to curb this trend and save lives, I proudly introduced legislation to implement the Task Force’s recommendations.
Senate Bills 769 and 770 would require doctors to check the Michigan Automated Prescription System, or MAPS, before prescribing medications to new patients. MAPS is used to identify and prevent drug diversion at all levels from the prescribing physician, to the pharmacy, and finally to the patient, by collecting prescriptions for schedule II – V controlled substances.
Under SB 770, failure to consult MAPS prior to the prescription being finalized would require the violating physician to complete remedial continuing medical education.
Additionally, I co-sponsored SBs 771 and 772, which would increase penalties for physicians who overprescribe the specified controlled substances. Currently only a misdemeanor punishable by two years, this legislation would increase the penalty to a felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
The Task Force also recommended making the life-saving drug, Naloxone, more widely available. I introduced SB 778, which would allow pharmacists to directly dispense the drug without an individual presenting a prescription. Naloxone, which reverses the effects of an opioid overdose, has saved thousands of lives since previous legislation allowed first responders to carry the drug.
This package of legislation is now under consideration in the Senate Committee on Health Policy.