The letter, sent April 11, urges HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell to revise agency regulations, a change that would exempt opioid treatment programs from needing a patient’s permission to submit dispensing data to state monitoring programs.
“These monitoring programs are one of the best tools in fighting opioid abuse, drug overdoses and the countless crimes caused by addiction,” Morrisey said in a press release. “Increasing accountability will help pharmacists and doctors keep prescription drugs out of the wrong hands.”
Morrisey says state monitoring programs allow physicians, prescribers and others to identify patients engaged in high-risk behavior, such as doctor shopping and prescription forgery. Revealing such activity reduces diversion and helps refer those involved to substance abuse treatment.
Many states require health providers to register for and check their state’s database before prescribing potentially addictive medications. Methadone clinics are exempt under federal rules.
Morrisey and his counterparts say taking away that exemption will reduce diversion, misuse and abuse of opioids. It also prevents physicians from unknowingly overprescribing opioids and helps them avoid a deadly combination of drugs, like opioids and benzodiazepines.
They say the revision also will help enable patients to receive comprehensive, safe and more effective treatment, while continuing to safeguard their privacy.
Morrisey sits on the National Association of Attorneys General Substance Abuse Committee and believes coordination between all branches of government is key to defeating substance abuse.
Morrisey signed this week’s letter with Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens and Maine Attorney General Janet T. Mills, along with attorneys general from Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.