Legislature passes a bill to help opioid abuse victims

Apr 18, 2019
Written by Mark Johnson, Senior Vice President of Policy and Government Affairs

The Legislature has approved HB 5380 that aims to improve treatment options for opioid abuse victims.

Washington Retail would like to thank Governor Jay Inslee for proposing the bill and prime sponsor, Senator Annette Cleveland, D-Vancouver.

The bill includes several positive aspects including:

  • Requiring electronic prescriptions for controlled substances
  • Requiring prescribers to discuss the risks of opioids with certain patients with the option of refusing an opioid prescription.
  • Establishing new requirements for how electronic health records integrate with a prescription monitoring program. This will reduce the likelihood of making mistakes in the distribution of opioid medication.
  • Requiring the Health Care Authority and the Department of Health to cooperate with other state agencies on initiatives to promote a statewide approach to address opioid use disorders.
  • Requiring pharmacists to provide written instructions about responding to an opioid overdose and allowing hospital emergency departments to dispense reversal medication when a patient is at risk of an opioid overdose.

These features improve the likelihood of reducing opioid abuse in favor of encouraging that patients seek treatment for their disorder. Left unchecked, victims often turn to retail theft to support their abuse.

WR repeatedly testified in favor of the bill to improve treatment options for patients. Gov. Inslee is expected to sign the bill into law.