Bills Addressing Opioid Addiction Crisis Move Forward

January 30, 2018

VACo is following many bills that focus on the problem of opioid addiction. Several bills that address the issue of prescription opioid misuse have been reported from the Senate Education and Health Committee’s Health Professions Subcommittee, and now move to consideration by the full Senate.

SB 226 (Stanley) requires veterinarians to register with the Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) and report certain information to the PMP when dispensing controlled substances to animals as part of a course of treatment lasting more than seven days.

SB 632 (Dunnavant) requires that when starting a new course of treatment for surgical or invasive procedures, a prescriber must request certain information from the PMP for a course of opioids lasting more than seven days. Current law requires the prescriber to consult the PMP for opioids lasting for more than 14 days as part of treatment for a surgical or invasive procedure.  A similar bill, HB 1173 (Pillion), was reported from the House Health, Welfare and Institutions Committee.

SB 728 (Dunnavant) requires the Director of the Department of Health Professions, in consultation with representatives from relevant health regulatory boards, to report annually to the Joint Commission on Health Care on controlled substance prescribing and dispensing patterns, including any necessary changes to the criteria for unusual patterns of prescribing and dispensing.

Two bills are no longer under consideration, but their subject matter will be incorporated into letters from Senator Stephen Newman, Chair of the Senate Education and Health Committee.  A letter addressing SB 464 (Reeves) will direct the Department of Health Professions to come up with guidelines for including methadone clinics in the PMP; a letter addressing SB 635 (Dunnavant) will ask the Department to embed in the process of streamlining the PMP notice of the administration of naloxone between primary and emergency care providers.

A variety of other approaches to the problem of addiction are also under consideration this year.

HB 1157 (Pillion) requires the development of a plan for services for substance-exposed infants.  The Department of Health is to lead the development of the plan in collaboration with affected state agencies and stakeholders and report annually to the General Assembly regarding implementation of the plan.  The bill has been reported from the House Health, Welfare, and Institutions Committee and is now before the House Appropriations Committee.  A companion bill, SB 389 (Chafin), has been reported from Senate Education and Health Committee and referred to the Senate Finance Committee.

HB 1172 (Pillion) establishes a state team to review overdose deaths in the Commonwealth and authorizes the establishment of local or regional teams to review local overdose deaths; a similar bill, SB 399 (Lewis), authorizes the establishment of local or regional review teams.  HB 1172 is now before the House Appropriations Committee; SB 399 is on the Senate floor.

HB 1401 (Herring) authorizes correctional and probation officers who have completed a training program to possess and administer naloxone; a similar bill, HB 322 (Bourne), provides this authority to correctional officers and Department of Corrections employees designated as probation or parole officers.  HB 1401 is before House Health, Welfare and Institutions Committee; HB 322 has passed the House and has been referred to Senate Education and Health Committee.

VACo Contacts: Khaki LaRiviere and Katie Boyle

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