INDIANAPOLIS — A bill designed to limit prescription drug abuse unanimously passed out of the Indiana Senate by a vote of 50-0 Monday.
Senate Bill 246, introduced by Sen. Ron Grooms, R-Jeffersonville, is designed to prevent overprescribing and abuse of controlled substances by allowing only licensed physicians, hospitals or hospices to have an ownership interest in a business that prescribes, dispenses or administers controlled substances.
Controlled substances include narcotic pain relievers, such as hydrocodone and oxycodone. The bill would also call on Indiana’s Medical Licensing Board to adopt standards for the safe and medically appropriate prescribing of these drugs.
“Recent news reports about massive overprescription of pain killers and prescription drug dealing in our home communities highlight the urgency in finding a comprehensive way to curb this epidemic,” Grooms said in a press release. “Today’s legislation will lead to the adoption of statewide standards for safe and reasonable prescribing practices of controlled substances. That will be a major development toward preventing these dangerous drugs from being sold illegally and used for non-medical purposes.”
Grooms, a retired pharmacist, introduced the bill in response to the rise in overprescribing of narcotics at pain management clinics. The state’s Medical Licensing Board recently suspended the licenses of two pain management clinics in Indiana, one in Fort Wayne and one in Jeffersonville. The pain management clinic that was located in Jeffersonville has since closed.
The bill will head to Indiana’s House of Representatives and Rep. Steve Davisson, R-Salem, Ed Clere, R-New Albany, and Steven Stemler, D-Jeffersonville, will sponsor the legislation.