Louisiana governor backs legislation to limit opioid prescriptions

Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards is throwing his support behind legislation proposed in both the Louisiana House and Senate designed to address the state's opioid drug overdose epidemic.

Gov. Bel Edwards voiced his support on Tuesday for both Senate Bill 55 and House Bill 192. The Senate bill would require physicians to examine the state's prescription monitoring program prior to making a first-time opioid prescription and would require three hours of continuing education for prescribers every year. The House bill would limit first-time, acute-pain opioid prescriptions to seven days for adults and limit all acute-pain opioid prescriptions for pediatric patients to seven days.

The two opioid bills are part of a legislative package designed to support Louisiana families, which Gov. Bel Edwards endorsed Tuesday.

"We often say that we value Louisiana families, but the lack of state policies that ensure families are supported in meaningful ways suggests otherwise," said Gov. Edwards. "Louisiana has the highest gender wage gap in the country, is one of only five states that has not adopted a state minimum wage and is now facing an opioid epidemic that is impacting families in every part of our state. If we want our families to do better, then we must do better by them."

Louisiana has the sixth-highest opioid prescribing rate in the country, according to a report from The Advocate citing a 2016 report from the Institute for Healthcare Informatics. The IHI found there were 102.3 opioid prescriptions for every 100 people in the state for a period of one year ending June 30, 2016.

More articles on opioids: 
Mallinckrodt reaches tentative $35M agreement to settle federal opioid investigation 
Massachusetts hospitals see highest rate of opioid-related ED visits 
Study: American heroin use jumps fivefold in 10 years

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