State move in war against opioid abuse is common sense

Legislation that received final approval this week in the Michigan Legislature appears to be a common sense approach to something that people in law enforcement and medical communities are very familiar with.

It’s called doc shopping and what it amounts to is people who seek prescription medicines bounce from one physician to another, looking for someone to provide drugs, often opioids.

Doctors prescribing them aren’t aware that another physician (or physicians) have prescribed the same drugs previously.

It’s part of a problem that’s killing thousands of Michigan residents each year.

Under legislation that was OK’d Wednesday, the requirement for health providers to use the recently upgraded Michigan Automated Prescription System would take effect in June, with some exceptions, The Associated Press reported. The electronic database tracks schedule 2-5 drugs.

According to AP, Republican Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker of Lawton, who is among several measure sponsors, said physicians would be able to instantaneously check a patient’s prescription history — a process that she said would take two seconds instead of 10 to 15 minutes like it has in the past.

“I think this will be the strongest reporting system in the nation,” she stated

The main bill passed 86-24 in the GOP-led House and 36-1 in the Republican-controlled Senate. Gov. Rick Snyder is expected to sign it into law.

We hope he does and with dispatch. With opioid abuse well established in the state and nation, we can’t help but wonder why it took this long to get this approach on the books.