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Salem state senator announces opioid abuse legislation

(Jasper) Herald staff

INDIANAPOLIS — State Sen. Erin Houchin is taking aim at Indiana’s opioid crisis with newly filed legislation.

Houchin, R-Salem, announced the filing of Senate Bill 221 Monday, aimed at combatting the increasing drug epidemic in Indiana by reforming usage practices for Indiana’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (INSPECT).

This legislation has been included on the Senate Majority Caucus’ 2018 Agenda and Gov. Eric Holcomb’s 2018 Next Level Agenda.

INSPECT allows a prescriber of opioids or benzodiazepines to search a patient’s previous prescription history to determine if they are “doctor shopping” for multiple prescriptions, are using their prescriptions at a rate higher than prescribed, or are at risk for an overdose.

Currently, registration and regular searches of the INSPECT system are voluntary.

“Indiana’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program is a valuable tool in our efforts to curb opiate overprescribing, which directly contributes to drug addiction, and accounts for millions of pills inundating our streets and communities,” said Houchin. “However, in order for it to be effective, INSPECT must be used consistently and efficiently.”

SB 221 would require practitioners who wish to prescribe opioids or benzodiazepines to register with INSPECT and perform mandatory searches, which will be phased in over a three-year period.

Prescribers in emergency rooms and pain management clinics would be required to register and search by Jan. 1, 2019, all prescribers in hospital settings would be required to participate by Jan. 1, 2020, and all other prescribers would be required by Jan. 1, 2021.