Staff reports, updated | Four Republican House members this week filed a package of 10 bills designed to thwart the rising epidemic of opioid and heroin abuse.
It’s a comprehensive approach to build a foundation to address the problem of rising additions to legal painkillers and heroin, according to state Reps. Eric Bedingfield of Greenville, Russell Fry of Surfside Beach, Phyllis Henderson of Greenville and Chip Huggins of Columbia.
“We wanted to get the ball rolling,” said Beddingfield, whose oldest son died from addiction. “This is just the first set [of bills].”
A summary offered by the sponsors:
H. 3818: Immunity for reporting drug and alcohol-related overdoses. Also, known as the “Good Samaritan” law. Provides limited immunity from prosecution for certain drug and alcohol-related offenses committed by a person who seeks medical assistance for another person who is experience a drug or alcohol-related overdose.
H. 3824: Mandatory use of Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. Mandates that before prescribing schedule II controlled substances, prescribers must check the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program and sets penalties for failure to comply. Requires all prescribers to complete continuing education related to controlled substances.
H. 3821: Healthcare profession mandatory higher education requirements. Institutions of higher education that offer degrees in health care professions which have schedule II, III or IV prescriptive authority must require coursework on the prescription and monitoring of those controlled substances.
H. 3817: Controlled substance take back programs. Allows pharmacies and other entities to register as a collector to receive controlled substances as part of a law enforcement controlled substance take back event and operate controlled substance mail-back programs.
H. 3825: Prescription report cards. Requires the state Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) to provide prescription report cards to practitioners utilizing the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program that includes data relevant to a practitioner’s prescribing practices.
H. 3823: Mandatory reporting of fetal exposure to alcohol or controlled substances. Requires medical professionals to report to the state Department of Social Services (DSS) any child diagnosed with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder or who is affected by the presence of nonprescription controlled substances.
H. 3820: High school health curriculum. Requires students in grades 9 through 12 to receive instruction on prescription drug abuse as part of their comprehensive health education.
H. 3822: Notification of changes in controlled substance schedule. Requires DHEC to notify the Code Commissioner of any changes to the schedule of controlled substances.
H. 3819: Parental consent when prescribing to minors. Requires parental consent before prescribing opioids to minors.
H. 3826: Counterfeit-resistant prescription blank. Requires DHEC to develop a counterfeit-resistant prescription blank which must be used by practitioners for prescribing controlled substances.