Senate Committee Approves 3 Bills To Curb Opioid Epidemic
OKLAHOMA CITY - State lawmakers are moving ahead with legislation intended to curb the opioid epidemic in Oklahoma. It's an epidemic that claimed more than 400 lives in 2016.
Members of the Senate Appropriations Committee approved three more bills Wednesday, that are part of a coordinated effort to reduce the number of opioid deaths in the state.
Among those bills is one that would create an 18-member board to review all opioid overdose deaths. Another would require the owners of medical facilities that prescribe certain drugs to register with the Bureau of Narcotics.
Other bills already out of committee would allow "Good Samaritans" to report an opioid overdose without the risk of being arrested and limit the amount of opioid medicine prescribed to a patient on their first visit to a doctor.
The primary sponsor of the bills, Senator AJ Griffin, said opioids kill more Oklahomans than car accidents, with overdose deaths increasing almost 70 percent in the last decade.
Griffin said the bills are based on recommendations made by the Oklahoma Commission on Opioid Abuse, which took input from all stakeholders.
“We've been able to collaborate with our doctors, medical doctors, and really the entire medical profession, including pharmacists were at the table to have these conversations and so, using the opioid commission as a platform for writing the statute worked very well,” said Griffin.
The commission made 31 recommendations in total, but Griffin said only a handful required legislative action. These bills now go before the full Senate.