MMS Testimony in Opposition to S.1041, An Act Relative to High Volume and High Risk Prescriptions

Committee on Mental Health and Substance Abuse

The Massachusetts Medical Society wishes to be recorded in opposition to S.1041, “An Act Relative to High Volume and High Risk Prescriptions.”  This bill would put in place statutory restrictions on physician prescribing of all schedule II and III narcotics, regardless of whether the drugs are deemed a public health risk or not.  Drugs deemed to pose a heightened public health risk, at determined by the Department of Public Health, would be completely prohibited in emergency departments.  The bill would significantly broaden the DPH’s authority over physician prescribing.  

The Medical Society shares the sponsor of S.1041’s concern with the opioid epidemic.  Indeed, the MMS has recently released Opioid Therapy and Physician Communication Guidelines for physicians.  The Guidelines represent one part of comprehensive campaign to educate physicians and patients about safe prescribing and the storage and disposal of prescription pain medications.  A copy of the Guidelines are attached.  As part of the campaign, the MMS will also offer free educational resources for prescribers to help inform their judgments and information on the critical aspects of storage and disposal of prescription drugs for patients and families.  All three components of the campaign are included in a new website 
addressing opioid and prescription drug abuse, www.massmed.org/smartandsafe.
 
Additionally, the MMS has worked closely with Governor Baker’s administration, the EOHHS Opioid Taskforce, and the Senate Opioid Taskforce.  The MMS feels strongly that working on these efforts cooperatively will prove more effective in the battle against prescription drug abuse than a statutory limitation on physician prescribing, which is strongly opposed by the Society.  

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