Posted Mar 8, 2019 at 5:45 PM
“E-scripts would prevent forgeries and the overdose deaths that can result from them,” Rep. Joe Bellino, R-Monroe, explained.
A local legislator has introduced a plan to combat Michigan’s growing opioid abuse epidemic by aiming to reduce fraudulent prescriptions.
State Rep. Joseph Bellino, R-Monroe, proposed legislation that would call on doctors to send prescriptions through a secure computer system — preventing anyone but the doctor from issuing prescriptions.
“This practice holds doctors accountable and cuts down on bad actors and double- prescribers,” Bellino said. “Between 3 and 9 percent of opioid abusers use forged prescriptions.
“E-scripts would prevent forgeries and the overdose deaths that can result from them.”
The plan also would reduce the number of prescription errors caused by illegible handwriting and detects inappropriate prescribing of opioids and other medical errors, Bellino said.
Studies reportedly show that e-prescribing reduces “doctor shopping” — the practice of getting narcotic prescriptions from multiple doctors.
“The cost of doing nothing is far too great for us to stand by and watch opioid dependence and overdose continue to take lives across the state,” Bellino said. “There were 1,762 opioid-related deaths in Michigan in 2016. Something has to change.”
Bellino also sponsored a number of other opioid-reform policies in the last legislative election, including a locking prescription vial to prevent drug abuse and a requirement for doctors to inform parents of minors about the dangers of opioids prior to prescribing.
He also supported measures requiring doctors to consult the Michigan Automated Prescription System (MAPS) to verify that a patient has not shown signs of drug abuse before prescribing opioids, and to require schools to instruct students on the dangers of opioids.
Bellino’s e-scripts proposal — House Bill 4217 — was referred to the House Health Policy Committee for consideration.