State News

The Latest: Bill to fight opioid abuse clears Senate panel

Posted June 15

— The Latest on legislation filed in the North Carolina General Assembly designed to address the state's opioid abuse problem (all times local):

12:21 p.m.

A measure designed to address North Carolina's opioid abuse crisis has cleared a Senate panel.

The Senate Health Care committee unanimously approved a bill Thursday to make changes to the rules on prescribing and dispensing drugs like Oxycontin or morphine. The drugs come with a high risk of addiction and can be a gateway to heroin use.

The measure would also strengthen requirements for doctors and pharmacists on the use of a statewide controlled substance database.

The bill was changed to remove veterinarians from the bill and include a provision for a study on how they'll comply with reporting their opioid prescription practices.

The bill would also require electronic prescriptions for controlled substances. Doctors would also generally be limited to 5- and 7-day supplies when first prescribing the potent drugs for pain or after operations.

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1:37 a.m.

Legislation aimed at reducing opioid abuse and overdoses in North Carolina is being considered in the Senate.

The bill, which is expected to be voted on Thursday in the Senate Health Care committee, would improve the rules on prescribing and dispensing drugs like Oxycontin or morphine. It would also strengthen requirements for doctors and pharmacists on the use of a statewide controlled substance database.

The measure has already received unanimous bipartisan support from the House.

Doctors would also generally be limited to 5- and 7-day supplies when first prescribing the potent drugs for pain or after operations. A larger refill prescription would require a subsequent consultation with the doctor.

Bill sponsors say that the legislation is meant to address the opioid epidemic in the state and nationally.

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