The opioid epidemic is increasing yearly, and lawmakers are searching for ways to combat it. Some doctors have fallen into the opioid epidemic and are playing their part in making the problem worse by overprescribing the drugs or by illegally participating in prescription-writing schemes. Opioid overmedication is a serious problem that can cost lives. A recent new story shares how new Rhode Island legislation is tackling the medication issue.
Three new bills were signed into law to help combat the opioid epidemic. One measure allows law enforcement to access a painkiller database without a warrant. Another requires health care professionals to discuss the risks of addiction with patients when writing opioid prescriptions. The third law expands the ability of physicians to write electronic prescriptions and avoid problems associated with writing paper prescriptions.
The rates of opioid related deaths continue to climb, with 1,200 Rhode Island residents dying of overdoses in five years. Physicians will continue to be held under greater scrutiny as crackdowns continue. A physician must be aware of the proper dosage of potent painkillers and keep prescriptions within therapeutic range as well as follow new legal protocols or they may endanger the health of individuals seeking medical treatment.
Opioid overmedication can lead to addiction and death. Hopefully, the laws enacted in Rhode Island will set a batter standard for opioid prescription practices. A physician who has been negligent in prescribing opioid medications could potentially be held responsible for damages that occur to an individual. An individual, or surviving family of an individual who has been harmed by overmedication may choose to seek the assistance of an attorney to pursue a medical malpractice claim.
Source: U.S. News & World Report, "New Rhode Island Laws Aimed at Combating Opioid Epidemic", July 20, 2017