Gov. David Ige signs bills directed toward reducing opioid overdoses

Gov. David Ige signs bills directed toward reducing opioid overdoses

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Gov. David Ige signed two bills on Monday aimed at reducing opioid drug abuse in the islands.

The first law, House Bill 1602, requires that any drug containing an opiate, dispensed by a healthcare professional or pharmacist, must have a label warning risks of addiction and death.

Back in March, officials from both the Board of Pharmacy and the Department of Public Safety requested that the bill be implemented with a smaller label.

Lee Ann Teshima, executive officer for the Hawaii State Board of Pharmacy requested that the legislature consider a label that states: "Caution: Opioid. Risk of overdose and addiction." The issue was that a longer label may not easily fit on most prescription bottles.

The final version of the law reflects these requests.

The second bill Ige signed relating to opioids, was Senate Bill 2247, which authorizes pharmacists to dispense, prescribe and provide related education on opioid antagonists to people at risk of opioid overdose without the need for a written agreement, subject to certain conditions.

An opioid antagonist is a drug that blocks opioids by attaching to opioid receptors without activating them, according to The National Alliance of Advocates 
for Buprenorphine Treatment
.

From 2010 through 2014, prescription drugs, illicit drugs, and over-the-counter medications, were the underlying cause of death for 91 percent of all poisoning deaths, according to the Hawaii State Department of Health.

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