Rep. Greg Murphy, MD, (R-Pitt), a sponsor of the bill, noted his unique position as a legislator and a physician. He wore his white coat to the press conference to show that prescribers take ownership and leadership on this issue. The bill contains a mandate for physicians to register and to use the Controlled Substance Reporting System (CSRS) as well as some limits on prescriptions for acute pain. Dr. Murphy admitted that as a physician he is sometimes irritated by the hassle of checking the CSRS and the additional paperwork.
“Our goal is to save lives,” he told the press. “We all must make sacrifices.”
Christopher Grubb, MD, an anesthesiologist who has provided opioid prescribing CME at North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) events including an upcoming course on March 18 in Greenville, also spoke at the press conference. He lauded the NCMS for their role in educating physicians calling opioid abuse and addiction a complicated issue. He said he hoped the proposed legislation also would serve to educate the public on the many facets of the problem.
Stein and the sponsors of the bill including Sen. Jim Davis (R-Cherokee), Rep. Craig Horn (R-Union), and Rep. Ted Davis (R-New Hanover) spoke of the comprehensive nature of the bill, which also provides $10 million in funding for this 2017-18 budget cycle and again in 2018-19 for community-based treatment and recovery services for substance use disorders. Sen. Tom McInnis (R-Stanly) shared how this epidemic had touched him personally with the death of his son.
“This bill is a work in progress,” said Sen. McInnis. “We want to make sure our citizens are protected.”
The bill is to be officially introduced this morning. Watch the 2017 Legislative Session blog for a more detailed summary of the bill. In the meantime, this brief overview was provided by the NC Attorney General’s office.