Michigan lawmakers hope new laws can save lives from opioid addiction

Posted at 6:15 PM, Dec 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-27 18:15:10-05

New legislation signed Wednesday aims to fight opioid addiction in Michigan.  Lawmakers say the goal is to increase awareness, make it hard for addicts to doctor shop, and give doctors a way to make sure they are doing what is best for patients. 
“The addiction epidemic is now claiming more lives than car accidents and we are taking an all-hands-on deck approach in Michigan to combat it and prevent future addiction,” Calley said. 

It is a deadly national emergency. In 2015 the American Society of Addiction medicine says Opioid addiction killed more than 33 thousand people. 

“We have a crisis on our hands. It needs to be treated like an emergency,” said Calley. 

The question is can legislation save lives?  Democratic and Republican lawmakers stood together to say they are going to try. They were there as Lt. Gov Calley signed legislation. 
A major part of the legislation would require prescribers check a patients prescription history, which is now available in an on-line system provided by the state. 

“Whether or not to prescribe is still the doctor’s decision, but at least they will have all the information,” said Calley. 

The package of bills will also require doctors have a true physician-patient relationship when prescribing controlled substances. It would limit the supply of an opioid that could be prescribed for acute pain, work with schools to educate students about the risks of opioid addiction, and expand Michigan’s Good Samaritan law to encourage people to report overdoses without fear of being arrested.

“I have seen first-hand how it can rob a person of potential,” said Calley. “At the end of the day what we want is fewer funerals and more second chances.”