Legislation aims to reduce prescription opioid abuse

By Kim Livingston

Ten-16 Prevention Coordinator

Over the past 10 years we have seen an increase in prescription opioid addiction, overdose and death throughout Michigan and the United States. We are rapidly seeing changes in the way opioids are prescribed and disposed. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2015, EVERY HOUR 76 people were treated and released from the ER for opioid-related care, 92 people were admitted to inpatient hospital for opioid-related care and 4.6 died from an opioid-related overdose in the United States.

By this summer Michigan will be seeing some changes in the way opioids are prescribed. Lt. Gov. Brian Calley unveiled a legislative package that includes: Prescribers must provide information on the dangers of opioid use/misuse to all patients and substance abuse information to patients who have experienced an overdose. Doctors must have bonafide physician-patient relationship and limits on the supply of opioids prescribed for acute, short-term pain. The Michigan Automated Prescription System (MAPS) must be consulted prior to prescribing an opiate and students will receive information in school about the potential dangers of opioid abuse and addiction.

“The addiction epidemic is now claiming more lives than car accidents and we are taking an all-hands-on-deck approach in Michigan to combat it and prevent future addiction,” Calley said.

Along with improving prescribing practices, safe disposal of medications is equally important. In Mecosta and Osceola counties, medication disposal boxes are set up in the lobbies at each of the local law enforcement offices. To use the boxes, keep medications in a sealed container or zip-lock bag, remove labels or blacken them out with a marker and bring the medications to law enforcement during regular business hours for safe disposal. Medications and needles/sharps can be disposed of at one of the 11 Spectrum Health Take Back events throughout the year. The next ones are scheduled for 2 to 5 p.m. on Thursday, May 24, at Canadian Lakes Family Practice; 3 to 6 p.m. June 26, at Reed City Multispecialty Clinic; and 3 to 6 p.m. June 28, at the main entrance of Big Rapids Hospital.

This article is brought to you in observance of National Prevention Week. NPW is a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration-sponsored annual health week dedicated to increasing the prevention of substance use and promotion of mental health. The observance brings individuals, organizations, coalitions, states and communities together through local events to raise awareness about the importance of preventing substance use and mental disorders.

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