Gov. Tomblin’s substance abuse bill passes Senate Heath and Human Resources
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By Steven Allen Adams | West Virginia Watchdog
The Senate Health and Human Resources Committee passed SB437, Tomblin’s proposal that would create a regulatory framework in place to monitor methadone and other pain clinics. The Department of Health and Human Resources would monitor the clinics, and employees and volunteers at the clinics would need to be certified. Chronic pain clinics would also need to meet certain requirements
SB436 would also create a real-time tracking system for prescription drugs and separate tracking system for pseudoephedrine products used in the making of methamphetamine. Instead of six days to track purchases, law enforcement would now receive 24 hours notice.
But one lawmaker, state Sen. Dan Foster (D-Kanawha), tried to hijack the bill and amend it to include language from SB346, the Larry Border Act. The Larry Border Act would require a prescription to dispense drug products that contain ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, phenylpropanolamine or other ingredients used in the making of methamphetamine – a powerful narcotic also know as as speed, meth, chalk, ice, crystal, and glass.
“The majority of this legislation is a step in the right direction…but the Methamphetamine Laboratory Eradication Act appears to fall well short,” Foster said. “What little inconvenience occurs appears to be far outweighed by the many benefits to society.”
The Larry Border Act- named after Del. Larry Border (R-Wood), who died after suffering a stroke last June at the age of 60 – has been sitting in the Senate Health and Human Resources Committee since Jan. 19 with no actions taken. Originally having 10 sponsors, three senators had their names removed as co-sponsors.
“This, for me, this is an issue of life and death, child abuse and neglect,” Foster said. “This amendment would make this comprehensive substance abuse act a far better piece of legislation.”
The act has the support of the West Virginia Board of Medicine, the West Virginia Medical Association, the West Virginia Chapter of the American Academy of Family Practice, and the West Virginia Board of Pharmacy. But David Potter, Executive Director of the Board of Pharmacy, said his group would accept the tracking system instead.
“They would like to see prescription-only; they echo the Board of Medicine’s comments on that,” Potter said. “However, they also understand…that if it can’t get prescription-only, the real-time tracking database is better than the one we have now, and if you can reduce the total grams of pseudoephedrine per month that a patient can buy legally, then that will help as well.”
Both of Foster’s amendments failed. His second amendment would have required prescription-only for pseudoephedrine if meth labs increased one year after SB437 passes.
The bill contents come from recommendations in a report released by Tomblin’s Substance Abuse Advisory Council and six Regional Substance Abuse Task Forces. Tomblin also included the recommendations in his State of the State speech last month.
According to a report released by the state last summer, West Virginia has the highest per capita overdose death rate in the nation, with prescription drugs being the culprit in nine of every 10 overdose deaths.
Data shows that 15 percent of all arrests in West Virginia involve drugs. Hospitals reported as much as 22,000 of admissions are due to substance abuse in 2009, with 12.2 percent of those admitted into the state’s behavior health treatment programs are there due to drug dependency.
- Lawmakers name bill making pseudoephedrine prescription-only after deceased West Virginia delegate (westvirginia.watchdog.org)
- Legislation making pseudoephedrine prescription-only aimed at busting meth labs, not curbing demand (westvirginia.watchdog.org)
Posted under Governor, Health Care, House of Delegates, Judical/Legal Reform, Legislation, Legislature, News, Regulations, State Senate, West Virginia.
Tags: Dan Foster, Earl Ray Tomblin, Larry Border Act, State of the State address, Substance Abuse, Tomblin, West Virginia, West Virginia Senate
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