Many states have taken the cue from the federal government and started their own investigation and research into opioids and the way opioids affect their particular state. Recently, Oklahoma joined the ranks of the states who have not just looked into the situation, but also went so far as to pass legislation to stymy the state’s opioid epidemic.
One of the pieces of legislation passed was Senate Bill 1446, which asks the Oklahoma Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision to require continuing medical education (CME) for prescribers on opioid abuse and misuse, and also restricts initial prescriptions for opioids to a seven day supply. With respect to the CME requirement, the legislation requires that “The Board shall require that the licensee receive not less than one hour of education in pain management or one hour of education in opioid use or addiction each year preceding an application for renewal of a license, unless the licensee has demonstrated to the satisfaction of the Board that the licensee does not currently hold a valid federal Drug Enforcement Administration registration number.”
Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter commended the Oklahoma House of Representatives and Senate for working in a bipartisan fashion to pass all the legislation requested by the state’s Commission on Opioid Abuse.
“I appreciate the members of the legislature for their decisive action this session on the recommendations by the Oklahoma Commission on Opioid Abuse,” Hunter said. “The bipartisan support from both chambers shows the commitment of members to saving lives and putting a stop to the opioid crisis that continues to claim an average of 1,000 Oklahomans every year.
“Since last April when my colleagues on the commission and I began meeting, we knew we had to act without delay to stem the daily loss of life attributed to this epidemic. After hours of meetings that brought all stakeholders together, we put forth the very best policy recommendations that would serve as a framework for ending the death and despair this plague has placed on our friends, family members and loved ones,” said Hunter.
Oklahoma State Senator AJ Griffin said she was honored to work with the commission to achieve the successful outcome. “The commission’s work will be a turning point that we can point to in the future and say this is where Oklahoma drew the line to curb its opioid epidemic,” Senator Griffin said. “I believe our work will also serve as a blueprint on a national level that states struggling in a similar way can use to save lives. I appreciate the leadership and passion from Attorney General Hunter, who championed the commission and initiated action to combat the growing problem.”
Among other legislation passed were: House Bill 2931, which creates electronic prescribing for all schedules of drugs; Senate Bill 1367, which creates the Good Samaritan Law and provides immunity from prosecution under certain circumstances; House Bill 2795, which requires medical facility owners to register with the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs; House Bill 2796, which requires manufacturers and distributors of opioids to make data available for review by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs; and House Bill 2798, which creates the Opioid Overdose Fatality Review Board.