The issue of over-prescription and abuse of controlled substances is being addressed by state senators and was signed into law this month by Governor Mike Pence. A bill introduced by State Senator Ron Grooms to crack down on the issue provides the Indiana Medical Licensing Board with the authority to regulate who can own and operate pain clinics prescribing controlled substances like hydrocodone and oxycodone.
On top of that, the bill also strengthens the Attorney General’s ability to conduct investigations into clinics that are suspected of over-prescribing these substances and encouraging dangerous addictions to these medications.
A practicing pharmacist for more than 30 years, Grooms said that outside of the prescribed medical context, these substances can destroy peoples’ lives and they need critical oversight to ensure that places prescribing these medications are not only qualified but responsible as well.
The Hoosier state ranks amongst the highest states in the nation for prescription painkiller abuse, according to the 2010-2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Some 5.7 percent of Hoosiers reported using prescription painkillers for reasons not related to medical use at some point last year.
The bill also tasks the Health Finance Commission with studying pharmacy prescription drug take-back programs and requires further legislative study of opioid treatment in the state as well as issues concerning not only treatment but recovery from prescription drug abuse.