Legislation to Curb Rx Abuse & Pill Mills Passes

Major legislation sponsored by State Representative Jeremy Faison (R-Cosby) designed to curb the abuse of prescription drugs in Tennessee is on its way to Governor Bill Haslam for his signature. Faison said the bill is a result of “comprehensive and collaborative effort by citizens, legislators, law enforcement and medical professionals to enhance and tighten the regulations on prescribers and pain management clinics.” 

“The bill is named the Addison Sharp Prescription Regulatory Act of 2013 in memory of an East Tennessee man whose young life was tragically cut short in 2012 by an overdose of prescription medication,” said Faison. “Prescription drug abuse is at epidemic levels in Tennessee,” Faison continued.  “It not only adversely affects the public health, but the public safety and economy.  This legislation provides additional tools to fight the scourge pill mills have created.”

Provisions of the House Bill 1264 would:

  • Directs the Commissioner of Health to develop a standard of care on prescribing the most commonly abused prescription medications and provide this information to the various licensing boards who oversee prescribers; 
  • Requires two hours of training for medical professionals every two years on these guidelines and other pertinent requirements such as medicine addiction and risk management;
  • Limits the dispensing of opioids and benzodiazepine to 30 days.  (The prescription may still be issued for 90 days, but this will limit it to a 30-day supply at a time);
  • Requires reporting to the Controlled Substance Monitoring Database by all prescribers who dispense at their offices; 
  • Clarifies the definition of manufacturer and wholesaler of drugs and require the reporting of the drug distribution to the State of Tennessee as they do to the DEA; 
  • Strengthens the definition of pain management clinics by closing a loophole in the law that has allowed some operators to avoid registration;
  • Requires a patient of pain management clinics to have a current and valid government-issued identification or health insurance card for monitoring purposes;
  • Limits the medical director at pain management clinics to four clinics total 

“The prescription drug problem has touched almost every Tennessee family,” added Faison.  “Tragically, it is the number one reason for children being taken out of their homes and into state custody.  We must turn back the tide of this epidemic and this legislation makes a major step in the right direction in accomplishing that goal.”