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Michael Petruzzelli

, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

Bipartisan Opioid Bill Would Allow Patients to Partially Fill Prescriptions

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A recently introduced bipartisan, bicameral opioid bill would allow patients the right to partially fill opioid prescriptions. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than 70 percent of adults who misuse prescription opioids get them from friends and relatives. The Reducing Unused Medications Act (S. 2578/H.R. 4599) – introduced by Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Representatives Katherine Clark (D-MA) and Steve Stivers (R-OH) – aims to limit the over- prescription of opioids and curb the nation’s growing opioid abuse epidemic.

“This bipartisan bill will empower patients and doctors to work together to determine appropriate pain treatment, while limiting the number of unused pills left in family medicine cabinets,” Senator Warren said in a statement. “It also gets the federal government out of the way and empowers states like Massachusetts to pursue additional prescribing policies that are the right local responses to this terrible crisis.”

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) currently allows for the partial filling of prescriptions for schedule III, IV, and V drugs. However, regulations surrounding schedule II drugs, including prescription opioids, are less clear. This bill would provide the needed clarity for states looking to provide patients the option of partially filling their opioid prescriptions.

“In order to fight the drug epidemic and save lives, we must pursue solutions on all fronts. Allowing the partial filling of opioid prescriptions is one way we can reduce the drug supply and prevent unused prescriptions from ending up in the wrong hands,” said Senator Capito.

“Millions of half-filled bottles of unused prescription drugs line our families’ medicine cabinets, and too often, that is where opioid addiction begins. The Reducing Unused Medications Act of 2016 empowers patients to manage their prescriptions responsibly and reduces the number of unused and unwanted painkillers that are fueling our nation’s opioid epidemic. Democrats and Republicans should come together to pass this bill and save lives,” Congresswoman Clark said.