YUMA, Ariz (KYMA, KECY) - In a 54-5 vote, Arizona state lawmakers proposed SB 1162, granting them to remove some of the limits of how much doctors can prescribe opioids to their patients.
This was based on hospital patients around the state who, according to the Arizona Capitol Times, voiced their concerns about the original plan Gov. Doug Ducey had in fighting the opioid endemic--regulating doctor's prescriptions--claiming that such limits would make drugs necessary for patients impossible to get in dealing with chronic and painful illnesses they face.
The bill will be amended to the 2018 Arizona Opioid Act, which was enacted by Ducey, and the bill stipulates that those who suffer from chronic, intractable pain or who are in the post-surgery phase will be exempt from the act.
However, according to Republican Senator Nancy Bardo, the main sponsor for the bill, she says, "There needs to be an established doctor-patient relationship and for patients to try a lower dose of the medication prescribed by their doctors."
There are also some concerns, however, that with this bill, there is a chance that Arizona will see a rise in opioid overdoses and deaths, much like how it was at the start of the opioid endemic.
According to Dr. Bharat Magu, Chief Medical Officer for Yuma Regional Medical Center, he shared, "I don't think this amendment will change significantly with the prescribing habits because most of the restrictions are still in place."
If Ducey sign the bill, and with the concerns about a rise in overdoses and deaths in check, lawmakers will have moderate control over how doctors prescribe opioids to their patients.