Michigan was ranked 10th place as the worst opioid pain reliever prescriptions per capita and also 10th in the country for the number of deaths caused by opioid abuse. Thus, reports saw a 17 percent increase in fatal prescription drug overdoses from 1999 to 2016. In response to this, the Michigan Legislature passed a package of laws last December to combat opioid abuse epidemic in the state.
The three new laws aim to regulate the prescription and dispensing of controlled substances, especially opioid painkillers. Professionals who prescribe controlled substances and patients who receive an opiate painkiller will have to follow two key provisions.
Under the provisions, a medical professional must register with the Michigan Automated Prescription System (MAPS) before prescribing or dispensing a controlled substance or opiate painkiller.
MAPS is the state’s prescription drug monitoring program that is a valuable resource for doctors. Moreover, it will help monitor patterns of abuse, suspicious prescribing, doctor-shopping and pharmacy shopping by patients.
The prescriber must also be in a “bonafide patient-prescriber relationship” and is obliged to review the patient’s past usage of scheduled drugs on MAPS before prescribing any controlled substance that exceeds a three-day supply.
The provisions also require patients prescribed with an opiate painkiller must be educated before medication and sign a consent form acknowledging they have received education afterward.
The third provision requires a doctor treating a patient with acute pain can only prescribe a maximum seven-day supply of opioid pills within a seven-day period.
Michelle Schreiber, M.D., Henry Ford’s chief quality officer and co-leader of its pain management and the opioid task force, says that opioid abuse affects patients and their families. She added that assessment and appropriate management of a patient’s pain is their obligation while following the new set of laws to ensure patients’ safety.
However, State Rep. Bronna Kahle proposed a bill in March in response to the provisions. She said that the laws make no exemptions for hospice care. Kahle identifies a problem of the measures, saying that it would make personal hospice visits difficult, if not impossible, during hospice emergency situations. End-of-life treatment should be as comfortable as possible for patients receiving hospice care, she said. Kahle’s bill is currently under consideration.