Legislator: E-scripts will help prevent abuse, overdose
State Rep. Joe Bellino’s plan to cut down on fraudulent prescriptions and combat Michigan’s growing opioid abuse was signed into law today.
The legislation calls on doctors to send all prescriptions through a secure computer system, preventing anyone but the doctor from issuing prescriptions.
“The coronavirus pandemic has not paused the opioid epidemic. The drug crisis continues to claim the lives of users across Michigan,” said Bellino, an addict in recovery for more than two decades. “If we want to see progress, we must hold doctors and bad actors accountable.”
Bellino said many opioid abusers use forged prescriptions, which can and should be prevented through his plan to reduce the number of prescription errors caused by illegible handwriting and detect inappropriate prescribing of opioids and other medical errors. Studies show that e-prescribing also reduces doctor shopping, the practice of getting narcotic prescriptions from multiple doctors.
During the 2017-18 term, Bellino sponsored a number of other opioid-reform policies, including a locking vial to prevent drug abuse and a requirement for doctors to inform parents of minors about the dangers of opioids prior to prescribing. He also supported measures requiring doctors to consult the Michigan Automated Prescription System (MAPS) to verify a patient has not shown any signs of being an abuser before prescribing opioids and to require schools to instruct students on the dangers of opioids, as well as several other measures.
“This is an opportunity to reduce the heartbreaking number of overdose deaths and overdoses that result from fraudulent prescriptions in our communities,” said Bellino, of Monroe. “Since my first day in office, I have been committed to addressing the opioid crisis. I’m thankful that my colleagues in the Legislature as well as the governor support this important step in reforming the system.”