The opioid epidemic in Michigan is claiming more lives each year than car accidents. In 2015, over 800 people died from opioid-related drug overdoses in Michigan1)http://www.mlive.com/news/index.ssf/2017/07/michigan_opioid_od_deaths_jump.html. By 2016, this number took a staggering jump; a total of 1,365 people died from opioid overdoses. Compare these numbers with annual car accident deaths reported by the Michigan State Police which totaled 884 deaths and 980 deaths in 2015 and 2016 respectively2)http://www.michigan.gov/msp/0,4643,7-123-1586_3501_4626—,00.html.
In response to these shocking numbers, Lt. Gov. Brian Calley has called for an “all hands on deck approach” to combat this epidemic in Michigan3)http://www.michigan.gov/snyder/0,4668,7-277-80388_80397-456397–,00.html. Calley signed legislation to this end in late December last year. The legislative package requires opioid prescribers to check patient’s history in the Michigan Automated Prescription System (MAPS) prior to giving controlled substances to patients and creates disciplinary actions for prescribers who fail use MAPS.
The package includes other reforms including requirements that prescribers provide information to patients about the dangers of opioids prior to prescribing, requires schools to include opioid education in health education curriculums, and requires a bona-fide physician-patient relationship before prescribing controlled substances.
These reforms come at a time when health providers are reassessing their own role in the opioid epidemic. In 2016, Michigan health-care providers wrote 11 million prescriptions for opioid drugs – enough to give every Michigan resident 84 opioid pills. This batch of legislation aims at prevention and earlier detection of addiction mostly by imposing requirements on health care providers and prescribers of opioids.
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