Puerto Rico Moves Forward on Patient Notification

Working closely with Elaine Pozycki, Founder of Prevent Opioid Abuse, Senator Abel Nazario Quiñones  has now added a  patient notification component to an existing bill  that addresses Narcan.  The Senator is optimistic it will gain adoption.  Prevent Opioid Abuse will continue to work closely with Senator Abel Narario Quinones, helping in any way we can.

Texas Patient Notification Legislation Heard in Public Health Committee

National and state experts and activists recently testified in favor of Texas House Bill HB 1710, sponsored by Representative Ana-Maria Ramos, requiring a conversation between prescriber and patient as well as parents, when the patient is under 18, to discuss the risks of addiction upon prescription of an opioid-based painkiller. Prevent Opioid Abuse Founder Elaine Pozycki was joined by Dr. Victor Vines, MD, Diplomate of the American Board of Addiction Medicine and Dr. Crispa Aeschbach-Jachmann, MD, an Austin based psychiatrist in testifying in favor of this common sense legislation that is driving down the number of opioid pain killer prescriptions issued in the states where it has been implemented, sparking productive conversations about the use of non-opioid pain relief alternatives.
They were well-received by the House Public Health Committee members. There is a lot of support building for the legislation and for a similar bill that also requires that prescribers provide the real time information that patients and parents need to make an informed decision about prescription opioids: HB 2811, sponsored by Representative Four Price.

In less than 2 years, versions of this legislation have already passed in ten states: Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Nevada, Oklahoma, Ohio, Rhode Island and West Virginia. In addition to Texas,t this life-saving legislation is currently being considered by state legislatures in Kansas, Maine, Missouri, Montana, Pennsylvania, Utah and Washington.

Letter to Legislators

Downloadable version here.

I write to urge you to introduce legislation in your state to arm patients and parents with the information they need to prevent opioid addiction. Every parent, every patient has the right to know the medicines they are about to receive can lead to a dependency and addiction. Prevent Opioid Abuse , the organization I founded, is advancing common sense legislation to accomplish this goal by requiring a conversation about the risks of dependence and where appropriate, the use of a non-opioid pain relief alternative before an opioid-based pain reliever is prescribed. In less than 2 years, versions of this Patient Notification legislation have already passed in seven states: Connecticut, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, Nevada, Ohio and Rhode Island.

I know the importance of having this knowledge from first-hand experience. My son Steven became dependent on opioid-based pain relievers after they were prescribed to treat a sports injury. Had I just been told about the addictive qualities of the medicines Steven was prescribed, I would have known to look for alternatives. I would have known to look for signs and symptoms of abuse.

And I’m not alone. A national survey done by the Hazeldon Betty Ford Foundation confirms what I have learned from talking with other parents, that 6 in 10 doctors prescribe opioid painkillers without telling patients that they can be addictive. That is why this legislation is so important and is beginning to fuel a reduction in the number of opioid-based pain reliever prescriptions in the states that are now implementing it. If we are going to curb this epidemic and prevent more families around the nation from going through what my family has been through, we need legislators like yourself to step up and bring this common sense approach to your state.

Given the recent approval by the FDA of Dsuvia, a new opioid painkiller that is ten times more potent than fentanyl, it is even more essential that we make sure that patients and parents in your state are armed with this real time, life saving information.

Requiring a conversation between doctors and patients and parents at the time it is most needed– right before an opioid is prescribed –is a simple, but extremely effective step that will result in saving lives. That is precisely what this legislation does. This common-sense requirement enables patients and parents to recognize signs of dependence, if they surface, and alerts them to less risky alternative methods of pain relief.

As the National Opioid Commission states, “We have an enormous problem that is often not beginning on street corners; it is starting in doctor’s offices and hospitals in every state in our nation.” Drug overdoses are the leading cause of accidental death in the United States. More than 50,000 people died from opioid overdoses in 2017.

We stand ready to assist you in any way in the introduction and passage of this life-saving legislation. If you need more information or have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact the Prevent Opioid Abuse Team at 973-316-6433 or by email at info@preventopioidabuse.org. Below is a copy of the legislation. We look forward to hearing from you.


Elaine Pozycki Founder, Prevent Opioid Abuse www.preventopioidabuse.org

Prevent Opioid Abuse Calls for Action to Accelerate the Positive Downward Trend in Opioid Painkiller Prescriptions

For Immediate Release:

Rob Horowitz

Prevent Opioid Abuse Calls for Action to Accelerate the Positive Downward Trend in Opioid Painkiller Prescriptions

“It is up to Every State in the Nation to Act”

Responding to a recent study showing a 9% nationwide decline in the number of opioid-based pain reliever prescriptions filled by pharmacies last year, Prevent Opioid Abuse, a national organization working to educate patients and parents about the risks of opioid-based painkillers and the available non-opioid alternatives, today called on every state in the nation to arm its’ residents with the real-time information required to dramatically speed up this positive trend. The organization pointed out that even with this welcome decline, about 200 million opioid prescriptions were written last year with millions of people taking these highly addictive medications for the first time.

Prevent Opioid Abuse urged all states to follow the lead of New Jersey, Rhode Island, Nevada and Maryland, and adopt legislation giving patients and parents the information they need to prevent opioid addiction at the time when they most need it – when an opioid painkiller is about to be prescribed.

The legislation requires prescribers to inform all patients, and parents of minors , about the risk of addiction before an opioid is prescribed and when appropriate, discuss the availability of non-opioid alternative pain relief treatments. This common-sense requirement enables patients and parents to recognize signs of addiction and alerts them to less risky alternative methods of pain relief. Maryland became the most recent state to adopt this legislation with Governor Larry Hogan signing it into law on April 24, 2018.

“While it is good to see this positive downward trend, we have a long way to go before we truly accomplish curbing the opioid epidemic,” said Elaine Pozycki, Founder of Prevent Opioid Abuse. “Requiring a conversation between doctors and patients and parents before an opioid is prescribed that includes a discussion of non-opioid pain relief alternatives will speed the decline in the number of opioid prescriptions written.”

Pozycki added, “All patients and parents of patients have the right to know that the medicine they are being prescribed can lead to dependency and addiction. They should also be made aware that there are non-opioid alternatives available that will work for all but the most extreme pain.”

Unfortunately, doctors rarely discuss the addiction potential of opioids before prescribing them,” said Andrew Kolodny, MD, Co-Founder of Physicians for Responsible Prescribing and a Senior Adviser to Prevent Opioid Abuse. “Requiring this conversation will not only result in better- informed parents, patients and prescribers, it will save lives and spare many families from the devastating impact of opioid addiction.”

The over-prescribing of opioid-based pain relievers, such as Oxycodone and Vicodin, is the primary cause of today’s epidemic of opioid addiction, both to opioid-based painkillers and their illegal street cousin, heroin. Two hundred million prescriptions for opioid-based painkillers are written annually in the United States, and Americans take more than 80 percent of the opioid-based painkillers used globally, despite representing just 5 percent of the world’s population.

The results of this overprescribing can be seen in every state of the nation. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention, more than 42,000 people died from overdoses from opioids in the United States in 2016, exceeding the number of people that died from breast cancer

“The National Opioid Commission has made the proposed requirement for a conversation between prescriber and patient before an opioid is prescribed one of its major national recommendations.

Maryland Passes Right to Know law for all patients— becoming 6th state to pass a conversation requirement

Governor Signs Bill Last Week Dealing With Opioid Prescriptions

April 27, 2018 – 9:34 pm
It would require health care providers to have discussions with patients before writing an opioid prescription.

Annapolis, Md (KM). It’s something doctors and other health care providers don’t often discuss with their patients, but now they’ll be required to do so under a bill signed into law last week by Governor Larry Hogan. It would require physicians, dentists, nurses and other medical professionals who prescribe opioid pain killers to their patients to discuss with them the risks of addiction from these drugs. They would also need to offer a non-opioid pain relievers if they’re available.

Read complete article here.

Maryland lawmakers tackle opioid legislation

Nevada Passes Conversation Requirement as Part of Comprehensive Controlled Substance Legislation

Governor Brian Sandoval and the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services today announced an important reminder that the provisions of Assembly Bill 474, the Controlled Substance Abuse Prevention Act, will go into effect January 1, 2018. This measure was introduced by the Governor during his 2017 State of the State address, unanimously passed through both houses of the Legislature, and was signed into law on June 16, 2017.

Read complete article here.

Read Governor Sandoval’s letter to Elaine Pozycki

Michigan Adopts Right to Know Law for Youth and their Parents–becoming 5th State to Pass a Conversation Requirement

From the December 27 Detroit News:

“Lt. Gov. Brian Calley signed a 10-bill package Wednesday aimed at reducing Michigan’s rapidly growing opioid addiction by requiring doctors and the state to better track and control the flow of opioid-based prescription drugs.

Calley signed six bills that will collectively require doctors to use a new online prescription tracking state database, set up a legitimate doctor-patient relationship and limit the number of pills dispensed in a given seven-day period. It comes as the number of heroin and prescription opioid overdose deaths in Michigan has doubled during the past five years.”

POA Works to Line up Sponsors in All 50 States at National Conference of State Legislators in Boston

The Prevent Opiod Abuse Team.

Gov. Raimondo Signs Legislation To Curb Opioid Crisis

Gov. Gina Raimondo is slated to sign several pieces of legislation Monday, aimed at curbing the opioid crisis.

The ceremonial signing includes bills to require health professionals to discuss the risk of addiction before they prescribe opioids to patients and stricter penalties for distributing fentanyl.

Read complete article here.