Friday, June 29, 2018

Governor Signs Bills to Fight Opioids

Posted By on Fri, Jun 29, 2018 at 1:32 PM

click to enlarge JUSTIN FOX BURKS
  • Justin Fox Burks

Governor Bill Haslam signed legislation Friday that will begin his “aggressive and comprehensive” plan to fight the state opioid epidemic.

Haslam signed into law two bills passed by the Tennessee General Assembly this year. Together, the bills comprise the TN Together plan. It focuses on prevention, treatment, and law enforcement.

“This legislation is a major step in helping fight this epidemic by limiting the supply of opioids and providing resources to provide treatment for those addicted,” Haslam said during a signing ceremony in East Tennessee Friday. “Opioid addiction affects the entire state in some form, and with this comprehensive plan I feel confident that we can make a difference in the lives of Tennesseans.”
click to enlarge GOVERNOR BILL HASLAM
  • Governor Bill Haslam

One bill, co-sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris, limits the duration and dosage of opioid prescriptions for new patients. The law makes exceptions for major surgical procedures, and exemptions that include cancer and hospice treatment, sickle cell disease, and treatment in certain licensed facilities.

”With initial opioid prescriptions limited to a three-day supply, Tennessee will have one of the most strict and aggressive opioid policies in the nation,” reads a statement form Haslam’s office.

The second bill creates incentives for offenders to complete substance use treatment programs while incarcerated. It also updates the schedule of controlled substances — notably adding synthetic versions of fentanyl — “to better track, monitor and penalize the use and unlawful distribution of opioids.”
Haslam also issued an executive order to create a special commission to update how opioids are taught in the state’s medical schools.

The state’s new budget includes more than $16 million to fund treatment and services in the fight against opioid addiction.

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