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Rep. Upmeyer: Opioid legislation will save lives

This news story was published on February 11, 2018.
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Linda Upmeyer (right)

The following is a legislative update from Rep. Linda Upmeyer of Clear Lake:

Winter in Iowa means snow and ice on the roads and extra caution is necessary. We are all saddened by the recent fatalities on Iowa’s highways from the recent storms we’ve faced. Take it slow, factor in extra travel time, and keep a safe distance from the car in front of you.

Another thing that is costing lives in Iowa is something I have written about in previous newsletters: Iowa’s growing opioid epidemic. This is a topic that continues to be at the top of mind for many Iowans. This is an issue that touches many Iowans and is not limited to a specific race, age, gender, or socioeconomic background.

We have already taken action in previous sessions to address this issue, expanding medication take back programs, making Narcan more accessible, and expanding interstate data sharing. There is much more we can do to address this issue.

That’s why this week the House announced a plan of action to address this issue. Our main goals are to:
Prevent doctor shopping,
Reduce overprescribing, and
Provide support to Iowans suffering from addiction
Preventing Doctor Shopping

Currently, only about 45% of all prescribers are signed up to use the prescription monitoring program (PMP), which is used to track and identify individuals who go from doctor to doctor to get multiple prescriptions. This is known as doctor shopping.

Our plan will require all prescribers to sign up for the PMP and log when they write a prescription for an individual. Pharmacies will be required to update the PMP at least once per day, which will move us toward more real-time tracking. This raises alerts if someone is getting multiple prescriptions from multiple doctors. Additionally, we are looking at ways to require electronic prescribing to reduce fraud.

One of the biggest complaints we hear about our PMP is that it doesn’t work. It’s difficult to use which has made it harder for doctors and physicians to do their jobs. The Board of Pharmacy has been in the process of implementing a brand new, state-of-the-art system that should be much more intuitive. This will make it easier for prescribers and pharmacists to make updates to the system and reduce the amount of doctor shopping in our state. We shouldn’t be making these updates a burden for doctors and physicians.

Reducing Overprescribing

Overprescribing has also been an issue that has attributed to the state’s opioid epidemic. While statewide prescriptions dropped by 10% over the last year, one-third of Iowa continues still saw an increase in opioid prescriptions.

Our bill prohibits controlled substance prescriptions from being filled more than six months after the original prescription date. Additionally, it prohibits any refills for highly addictive schedule II drugs, such as hydrocodone.

Providing Support

Finally, we need to provide support to Iowans that suffer from addiction. One way to do this is by passing a Good Samaritan Law, similar to what 40 other states have already done.

A Good Samaritan Law provides legal immunity to someone who has broken the law when calling for emergency medical assistance. This is in no way encouraging people to break the law. Drug dealers and repeat offenders would not be covered by Good Samaritan laws.

This is an important aspect of the bill to ensure that people that are in need emergency medical assistance aren’t afraid to call for help. If someone is experiencing and overdose, we want the opportunity to get them medical attention and intervene to get them the help and support that they need to kick an addiction.

This bill will make a real difference in combating the opioid epidemic and I look forward to moving forward on this issue to protect Iowans.

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6 Responses to Rep. Upmeyer: Opioid legislation will save lives

  1. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    February 12, 2018 at 9:09 am

    Several years ago I went toe to toe with these doctors about what bullsh!t this oxycontin was down in Iowa City. Needless to say they were pissed. Now today a law went into effect that they can no longer promote oxycontin. Hope their coffees cold today. This is a clear example of how Ms Upmeyer is on the ball making the world a better place for all. Thank you, Linda

  2. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    February 11, 2018 at 12:07 pm

    Just more excellent information from Ms Upmeyer. Addressing the issues in a timely fashion that are important to Iowans. Leading the way for a better tomorrow with outstanding leadership skills.Truly a pearl of wisdom in today’s political climate. Thank you, Linda.

    • bodacious Reply Report comment

      February 11, 2018 at 4:41 pm

      Linda, you shouldn’t write comments that are beneficial to yourself. Well, now that I think of it, Trump did it so why shouldn’t you?

  3. bodacious Reply Report comment

    February 11, 2018 at 10:30 am

    There is a lot more you could do Linda, especially in providing support. The Good Samaritan law is fine but by not granting immunity to repeat offenders is crazy. They are the people who most likely are going to be around an overdose victim. You could also quit cutting support for mental health facilities and care in the state. One reason people aren’t getting the help they need is because it isn’t there and if it is available, it is financially limiting. I have relatives who have spent over $40,000 out of pocket to help their child overcome an addiction to opioids. Their savings are about gone and insurance caps out costs. Luckily for them, treatment is working. For many others, it is an on-going struggle.

    • Anonymous Reply Report comment

      February 12, 2018 at 8:08 am

      Old Bo will be headed for one of those old folks homes pretty quickly. You can see the signs of dementia in every one of his posts.

      • bodacious Reply Report comment

        February 12, 2018 at 8:50 am

        Once again, eLViS, what is incorrect with my post?