In an earlier article, we wrote about how prescription meds are an increasingly worrisome drug of choice throughout the United States. After multiple statistics showed the deeper dangers of prescription opioids abuse, two proposed bills for opioid abuse are under consideration.
The general issue
Even though it was always a serious issue, the statistics regarding opioid abuse have been showing increasingly worrisome trends for the past few years.
From 2012 to 1014, the prevalence of deaths caused by opioid abuse has increased drastically, urging representatives to do something in order to slow down the barrage of deaths.
In Massachusetts alone, the percentage of deaths has increased by 63% over the course of only two years, showing the number of deaths caused by opioids in 2014 to be 1089.
To put things into perspective, 4 people die every day in Massachusetts as a direct cause of opioid overdoses, this not taking into account opioid-related deaths.
The Baker bill
Cue the Baker bill, which despite its overall good intentions, was proven to be a little too extreme even for the Massachusetts Medical Society.
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker proposed a bill limiting the amount of prescription opioids to be supplied to patients of doctors and dentists to that of 72 hours’ worth, without any exceptions.
The bill would also grant hospitals the authority to hold and commit patients considered to be a danger to themselves and others for up to 72 hours.
Even though the governor’s bill is intended to help, some can’t help but think his proposals slightly excessive, particularly those in need of opioid for day to day pain relief and, of course, the doctors themselves, who would be overwhelmed if every patient in need of opioids had to come in every three days.
The Malia bill
Meanwhile, Elizabeth A. Malia’s bill covers pretty much the same areas as the governor’s, and is slightly toned down.
Where Governor Baker’s bill limited the amount of opioids to be prescribed by doctors to 72 hours’ worth, the House of Representatives bill extends that period to 7 days for first time users and for minors, depending on the patient’s needs and the doctor’s suggestions.
The House bill, additionally, doesn’t approve of the 72 hour forced treatment, and instead urges medical practitioners to offer substance abuse evaluation to those who look like they could need it with 24 hours of their hospital admission.
One of the most controversial aspects of the Malia bill is that it requires all public schools to screen their students for potential drug abuse.
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