Legislation to Combat Opioid Epidemic in Virginia Passes House

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Richmond, VA – Today, Delegate Hugo’s HB1885 was passed unanimously by the House of Delegates. HB1885 amends 2016 legislation and directs prescribing physicians, when prescribing an opioid for longer than seven days, to request information from the Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP). The PMP allows physicians to see what, if any, controlled substances the patient is currently being prescribed. This provides a physician with valuable insight when prescribing these specific medications.

“Too often patients are intentionally visiting more than one physician and are being prescribed multiple opioids,” said Delegate Tim Hugo. “The goal of this legislation is to prevent the overprescribing of opioids to help stop the opioid epidemic in Virginia. This is in direct response to the ongoing crisis we are seeing across the Commonwealth. Directing physicians to verify a patient’s prescription history can prevent inadvertent overprescribing and help in reducing opioid addiction. Lastly, I would like to thank Supervisor Pat Herrity (R-Springfield) for his leadership on this issue. Supervisor Herrity brought forward the ideas that created this legislative proposal, as well as others, and is working hard on the local level to help end this epidemic in Fairfax County.”

Late last year, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) declared the opioid addiction crisis in Virginia a public health emergency. According to VDH, in 2016, fatal opioid overdose deaths increased nearly 77%, compared to five years prior. Additionally, in 2014, for the first time in our Commonwealth’s history, more people died from opioid overdoses than from car accidents.

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