The Washington State Senate Thursday night passed one of Rep. Strom Peterson’s bills to combat the rising opioid and heroin abuse epidemic in Washington.
Peterson’s bill (HB 2730), which passed the Senate 47-1, will expand access to the Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP), an online system managed by the Department of Health to keep track of how many prescriptions are dispensed in Washington and what type of medication they are.
The information in this system is accessible to medical practitioners, who can use it to watch for signs of abuse by their patients, like patients who shop around for the same prescriptions from multiple providers.
The problem is, the registration process for prescribers is lengthy, which has resulted in only 30 percent of Washington residents with prescriptions actively using it.
“This is a simple but useful tool to enlist health care providers in fighting the opioid abuse epidemic that is attacking our communities,” sad Peterson, D-Edmonds, who represents the 21st District. “In 2014 alone, there were 6,232,532 opioid prescriptions dispensed in the state. These rates call for all-hands-on-deck to fight this epidemic. I’m glad my colleagues in the Senate have joined the fight.”
Peterson’s bill will allow health care facilities to sign up as an entity, allowing the prescribers employed there to use the system without each of them having to go through the registration process separately. This change will make it easier for Washington prescribers to access useful data on opioid prescriptions.
HB 2730 now goes to the governor.