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May 15, 2013

Gov. Pence signs Grooms’ prescription drug bill


A bill by State Sen. Ron Grooms’ to crack down on the overprescription and abuse of controlled substances was signed into law Monday by Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.

Senate Enrolled Act 246 provides the Indiana Medical Licensing Board with authority to regulate who can own and operate pain clinics prescribing controlled substances like hydrocodone and oxycodone. It also strengthens the attorney general’s ability to investigate clinics that are suspected of overprescribing these substances and fueling dangerous addictions.

“These substances are not a game. Although they can be beneficial in the medical context, outside of it they can destroy people’s lives,” said Grooms, R-Jeffersonville, a practicing pharmacist for more than three decades, in a news release. “This bill will provide necessary and critical oversight of pain clinics, ensuring the only places prescribing these medications are responsible and qualified.”

Indiana ranks one of the highest states in the nation for prescription painkiller abuse, according to the 2010-11 National Survey on Drug Use and Health; 5.7 percent of Hoosiers reported using prescription painkillers for nonmedical reasons at some point last year.

SEA 246 also calls on Health Finance Commission to study pharmacy prescription drug take-back programs, as well as requiring further legislative study of opioid treatment in Indiana and issues concerning treatment and recovery from prescription drug abuse.

“I appreciate so much the unanimous support this issue received in the Senate and the House of Representatives,” Grooms said. “This bill will lead to a safer, more secure and more responsible Indiana.”

— News and Tribune

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