Ask your legislator to introduce a patient right to know bill in your state, requiring physicians to talk to patients and parents about the risks of addiction before prescribing an opioid-based pain reliever as well as to discuss alternative treatment when appropriate. This legislation is now law in New Jersey, Rhode Island, Maryland, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Utah, Washington and, West Virginia for all patients; in California, Connecticut and Michigan it covers minors and their parents. It’s one of the recommendations of the President’s National Opioid Commission. Our goal is to make it the law in every state.
A sample letter, which can be sent by old fashioned snail mail or emailed to your legislator is provided below. Feel free, of course, to put it in your own words. If you have any questions or need additional information, please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
I write to urge you to introduce a patient and parent right to know law, which requires that before prescribing an opioid pain reliever, such as Oxycontin, a Doctor or other medical practitioner, must discuss with patients and parents in the case of a minor the risks of becoming addicted and potential alternative treatments.
Addiction to prescription opioid pain relievers has reached epidemic proportions in our state and the nation as well, triggering a major increase in heroin abuse. Adopting this measure addresses the problem at its source and is one of the essential steps to combating our addiction problem and the overdose deaths and ruin lives that come in its wake. This is information that patients and parents have a right to know.
This measure has now been adopted in 12 states, and is one of the recommendations of the President’s National Opioid Commission. Attached is the legislation, which can serve as the basis of the bill you would introduce.
Please let me know whether I can count on you to introduce this common sense and life-saving legislation.