Two measures intended to help tackle the prescription drug overdose problem in Oklahoma won final legislative approval Thursday and are on their way to the governor.
House Bill 1783 would prohibit a written or oral prescription containing the painkiller hydrocodone from being refilled. There are no refill limits now on the drug.
The House of Representatives voted 75-6 to accept a Senate amendment to HB 1783, which earlier passed 43-0 in the Senate. The original House version of the measure capped refills at two; the Senate amendment eliminated any refills.
“Getting to zero is really where we needed it to be,” said Chuck Lester, who works for Oklahoma State University's prevention programs and was a member of a state group looking at prescription overdose. “It means that there's just going to be more interaction before somebody can just continually go and get refills without necessarily seeing a doctor. They at least have to check in to keep getting that prescription.”
The House also passed HB 1782, which would allow first responders to administer an overdose counteractive medication without a prescription to someone who is showing signs of an overdose under the Good Samaritan Act. It also would allow a family member of someone who has a prescription for hydrocodone or other painkillers to get a prescription for overdose counteractive medication after receiving training on how to administer it when the person showed signs of an overdose; the family member would be covered under the Good Samaritan Act.
The House voted 77-8 to pass HB 1782. It also is on its way to the governor.
Gov. Mary Fallin earlier signed HB 1781, which gives the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Department and the Health Department access to central prescription drug repository information gathered and kept by the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control. The two agencies may use the information for statistical, research, substance abuse prevention and educational purposes as long as the names of the people are not disclosed publicly.
About 81 percent of drug-related deaths in Oklahoma are caused by prescription drugs. One survey shows that nearly 8 percent of Oklahomans are abusing prescription painkillers, which is twice the national average, the governor said.
In 2010, hydrocodone was a factor in 153 overdose deaths in Oklahoma, followed by oxycodone at 144 deaths, according to OBN statistics.
It means that there's just going to be more interaction before somebody can just continually go and get refills without necessarily seeing a doctor. They at least have to check in to keep getting that prescription.”
Representative of Oklahoma State University's prevention programs and a member of a state group looking at prescription overdose