Georgia Senate Passed Bill to Curb Opioid Abuse Epidemic

Last week, the Georgia State Senate overwhelmingly passed the Senate Bill 81 (SB81). SB81 is taking aim at the growing opioid abuse epidemic in the state. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the rate of fatal overdoses from all drugs increased from 6.1 deaths per 100,000 people in 1999 to 16.3 deaths in 2015. According to Georgia Student Health Survey, 8.4% of Georgia students reported past-year used prescription drugs without a doctor’s prescription.

Prescription drug addiction often starts with people taking a powerful drug to treat their severe pain. Some people get hooked and eventually turn to another drug such as heroin. Commonly abused classes of prescription drugs are Fentanyl, Hydrocodone and Oxycodone.

SB81 requires all opioid prescriptions go into the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, a database of prescriptions written for certain narcotics and requiring physicians to consult this registry prior to prescribing under certain conditions. SB81 also allows over-the-counter sales of Naloxone, a medication designed to rapidly reverse opioid overdose.