New steps unveiled to address opioid epidemic in Michgan

Posted at 3:28 PM, Mar 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-23 15:28:08-04

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and Lt. Gov. Brian Calley gathered to announce new steps to address the state's opioid epidemic during a press conference on Thursday afternoon.

They were joined by bipartisan legislators to announce what they're calling a new legislative strategy that will focus on tackling the prescription opioid and heroin epidemic that plagues the state.

"Michigan has taken an active role to help save lives and provide second chances to Michiganders by working to prevent overdose deaths,” Snyder said in a release. “While we’ve made some progress, people are still becoming addicted and tragically dying from overdoses so our work is far from over. This new strategy focuses on primary prevention in hopes that we can reduce opioid misuse and prevent addiction from occurring in the first place.”

Calley also announced the new Michigan Automatic Prescription System (MAPS) which will launch in April. It provides prescribers with a user-friendly portal to obtain information on controlled substances and schedule 2-5 drugs that have previously been given to patients.

The new legislation will:

  • Require prescribers to obtain reports from MAPS before prescribing schedule 2-5 controlled substances
  • Increase penalties for physicians and pharmacists who wrongfully prescribe, dispense, manufacture or distribute controlled substances
  • Require prescribers to have physician-patient relationships before prescribing schedule 2-5 controlled substances
  • Require the Prescription Drug & Opioid Abuse Commission to adopt recommendations to instruct students on drug abuse
  • Require schools to include education on opioids and potential addiction
  • Require prescribers to provide information about dangers, addition and more to patients before prescribing a controlled substance
  • Require physicians to provide patients being treat for an addiction with information on substance abuse
  • Create prescribing limits for opioids
  • Require pain management facilities to be licensed by the state
  • Provide treatment options for Medicaid beneficiaries suffering from opioid addiction
  • Protect pharmacists from civil liability if they refuse to fill a prescription
  • Require parental consent and signature before a minor receives their first prescription of a controlled substance containing an opioid.