Legislation filed to limit narcotic prescriptions

FRANKFORT, Ky. – State Rep. Jeff Taylor, (D-Hopkinsville) pre-filed legislation this week aimed at curbing opiate painkiller addiction rates by limiting first-time adult prescriptions for non-chronic pain to a seven-day supply.

The bill — modelled on successful, bipartisan legislation approved in Connecticut and Massachusetts — includes an exception for cases in which the prescribing practitioner determines a longer supply of narcotic pain medication is necessary to address a patient’s acute medical condition, such as chronic pain management, pain associated with a cancer diagnosis or palliative care.

Additionally, the proposal includes provisions that limit narcotic prescriptions to minors to a seven-day supply, and urges practitioners to discuss the risks associated with opiate use with the minor’s parent or legal guardian, and explain why the prescription is necessary.

“This legislation emphasizes education for our students and our families while limiting the amount of pain pills in circulation that can too often lead to addiction,” Rep. Taylor said. “We’ve all seen the devastating effects of heroin addiction in our Commonwealth, much of it rooted in the abuse of prescription painkillers. This bill seeks to strengthen the laws surrounding the prescription of narcotics in an effort to curb addiction rates and limit the circulation of narcotics for unauthorized use. I am hopeful that this legislation will draw the same sort of bipartisan support that it has received in other states.”

Under the provisions of the legislation, any condition triggering the prescription of a narcotic drug for more than a seven-day supply would be documented in the patient’s medical record, with the prescribing practitioner indicating that a nonnarcotic drug alternative was not appropriate to address the medical condition.

The legislation, filed as Bill Request 202, will be considered during the 2017 session of the Kentucky General Assembly. Rep. Taylor, who was narrowly defeated during the recent election, has requested state Rep. Chris Harris (D-Forest Hills) to carry the bill for him in the next session.

“I commend Rep. Taylor for pre-filing this legislation and look forward to carrying it forward in the next session,” Rep. Harris said. “The drug epidemic has been pronounced throughout the Commonwealth, but it’s taken a particularly heavy toll in Eastern Kentucky where I have witnessed first-hand that drug addiction doesn’t discriminate; it affects people of all ages, from all walks of life, and from all economic backgrounds. This legislation is another positive step forward in limiting the supply of narcotics and making people more aware of the potential for addiction when using these drugs.”

Rep. Taylor represents the state’s 8th House District in Christian and Trigg counties. Rep. Harris represents the state’s 93rd House District in Martin and Pike counties.