Heroin and Opioid Prescription and Enforcement (HOPE) Bill

SB 616 – Heroin and Opioid Prescription Enforcement Act

Primary Sponsors: Sen. Jim Davis (R-Cherokee)

Bill Movement

This bill was proposed as a committee substitute on May 6, 2018. This bill passed. This bill was re-referred to Judiciary I on May 6, 2018.

This proposed committee substitute passed in the House Judiciary Committee on June 11, 2018.

The first amendment sponsored by Rep. Greg Murphy (R-Pitt) asks the state to look into tele-psychiatry and telemedicine to aid in mental health and substance abuse treatment. This amendment passed 111-0.

The second amendment sponsored by Rep. Craig Horn (R-Union) clarifies that all investigations be a bona fide active investigation. which strengthens the standard. This amendment passed 112-0.

The third amendment was also sponsored Rep. Craig Horn (R-Union) to clarify an opioid mixture that would be included in all of these provisions. The amendment passed 112-0.

The fourth amendment was sponsored by Rep. Sarah Stevens (R-Surry). This amendment would put an effective date in the bill to allow for all interested parties to become aware of the bill. The amendment passed 111-1.

This bill passed the House with a vote of 88-24. This bill was objected to on third reading and will remain on the calendar.

A fifth amendment sponsored by Rep. Robert Reives (D-Lee) would have reinstated the court order process signed off by any judge or magistrate in NC.

This bill was calendared in the Senate on June 14, 2018. This bill passed in the Senate and will be sent to Governor Cooper.


Bill Summary

Section 7

This bill states that any person who sells, manufactures or delivers opioids to be guilty of a felony.

Section 8

This bill would allow a certified diversion investigator with a qualified law enforcement agency to request and receive pharmacy copies of prescriptions and records related to a bona fide active investigation relating to drug enforcement laws.

The certified investigators would be required to submit a copy of the request to the SBI. The SBI would be authorized to conduct a periodic audit of a random sample of these requests.

Pharmacies would be required to provide copies of prescriptions and records within two business days of the request.

Section 9

This bill would make it unlawful for any medical care professional who embezzles or diverts to their own use, or takes with intent to misapply any controlled substance that is prescribed to another.

Any person who intentionally dilutes or diverts a controlled substance would be punished as a Class E felony.

Section 10

This bill would require the dispenser to report a prescriber’s national provider identification number for any prescriber that has one.

Section 11a

This bill would allow the NC Attorney General or a designee who is a full-time employee of the NC Department of Justice to have access to and monitor requests for inspection of records in the Controlled Substance Reporting System (CSRS).

The bill states that any individual that accesses, disseminates, maliciously obtains or discloses prescription information for a purpose not authorized shall be guilty of a Class I felony. Any person who is convicted of a criminal offense under this section would be permenantly barred from the CSRS. The SBI may investigate any of these violations.

Section 11b

This section defines which law enforcement officers can have access to controlled substance reporting.

Section 12 

This section states that providers acting in a good faith effort to secure reports or other records are immune from criminal or civil liability.

Sections 13 and 14

This section established minimal standards and levels of training for individuals who would have access to the CSRS.

Section 15

This section of the bill appropriates $10 million in recurring funds for the 2019-2020 fiscal year for increases in community based treatments and recovery services for substance abuse disorders. This provision also includes $160,000 recurring to fund Operation Medicine Drop and $122,000 recurring and $58,000 non-recurring to create a full-time special agent position to enhance drug investigations for the SBI.


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