KYUK AM

Gov. Walker Introduces Bill To Clamp Down On Opioid Prescription And Monitoring

Mar 6, 2017

The Yukon-Kuskokwim Ayagnirvik Healing Center provides substance abuse treatment for alcohol and opioid addiction in Bethel, Alaska.
Credit Dean Swope / KYUK

The state is continuing its fight against the opioid epidemic sweeping through Alaska by introducing legislation clamping down on the way pain medicines are prescribed and monitored.

Among the measures in the bill filled by Governor Walker's administration is more required education for medical providers on opioid abuse. But doctors aren't the only ones being asked to keep an eye out for addiction to these painkillers. The bill requires veterinarians to be educated about the signs of opioid abuse among pet owners, which addresses a concern that people picking up medicine for their animals may be taking them for their own personal use.

The legislation filed on Monday would limit the filling of opioid prescriptions for outpatients to seven days and require doctors to talk about the risk of addiction before prescribing these medicines to minors. Under the bill, patients also have the right to refuse opioid prescriptions.

Under the proposed new law, both doctors and veterinarians would have to participate in a prescription database, which pharmacies will have to update daily.

This legislation was preceded last month by an opioid emergency declaration and an administrative order from the governor designed to make overdose antidotes more readily available throughout the state.