House sends Senate bill to limit most potent painkiller prescriptions to three days, target traffickers of fentanyl

The state House has sent to the Senate a bill to put a three-day limit on prescriptions of high-potency painkillers, and increase penalties for the sale of fentanyl, in an effort to stem the state’s opioid epidemic.

House Bill 333 would impose the three-day rule on Schedule II controlled
substances, such as OxyContin. “It
includes exceptions meant to protect medical professionals’ ability to
prescribe a larger supply if they deem it medically necessary and
exempts patients with chronic or cancer-related pain from the new limit,” reports Morgan Watkins of The Courier-Journal. “Patients getting treated in a hospital or who need pain medication
after a major surgery or significant trauma would be exempt from the
proposed restrictions too.”

The bill would raise the penalty for selling any amount of fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid that is often sold surreptitiously. It would eliminate the current lighter penalties for trafficking less than 2 grams of the drug and would create a new offense of trafficking in a misrepresented controlled substance, punishable by one to five years in prison.

The bill passed the House 95-1 on Feb. 28. Rep. Lynn Bechler, R-Marion, cast the only opposing vote. The bill’s prime sponsor is freshman Rep. Kimbely Poore Moser of Taylor Mill.

Rep. John Blanton, R-Salyersville, told the House, “We have to take those measures that protect our young people.”

However, the Kentucky Rural Health Association said the bill could lead to under-treatment of pain: “While the intention is admirable, legislating medical treatment is a slippery slope,” it said in a statement.

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