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February 13, 2013

Grooms’ bill passes committee

INDIANAPOLIS — State Sen. Ron Grooms’ (R-Jeffersonville) bill to provide greater oversight for prescribing of controlled substances passed the Senate Committee on Health and Provider Services Wednesday. Controlled substances include most narcotic pain relievers and commonly-abused drugs.

Senate Bill 246 would oversee licensed physicians and other prescribers who prescribe, dispense or administer controlled substances. The bill would also task the Medical Licensing Board with developing standards for the safe and medically appropriate prescribing of these drugs.

“Prescription drug abuse is a growing threat to our country and state,” Grooms said in a press release. “Pain medications like oxycodone and hydrocodone are being over prescribed at an alarming rate and with little or no oversight. This over-prescription is contributing to addiction, lethal overdose and the illegal sale of these drugs to non-prescribed individuals.”

Grooms said his bill is in part a response to the rise of pain management clinics that prescribe medications to profit from people’s addictions rather than treat actual medical conditions. The Medical Licensing Board has recently suspended the licenses of two pain management clinics in Indiana — one in Fort Wayne and one in Grooms’ hometown of Jeffersonville — for dangerous prescribing practices.                                           

“My bill will not affect the legitimate and responsible prescribing of pain medications,” Grooms said. “But it will make sure Indiana’s laws are in line with neighboring states so that we do not become a magnet for over-prescribers who locate in Indiana and contribute to drug misuse and abuse.”                                         

SB 246 passed out of committee by a vote of 10-0 and now moves to the full Senate for further consideration.

—News and Trubune

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