STATEHOUSE  – A bill authored by State Sen. Randy Head (R-Logansport) to require licensed health care practitioners to receive opioid prescription and abuse training passed the Senate Committee on Health and Provider Services Wednesday by a vote of 11 to 0.

Under Senate Bill 225, if a licensed practitioner applies for registration or re-registration, he or she must have completed two hours of continued opioid prescribing and opioid abuse education during the previous two years.

Seventeen states require continuing education for controlled substance prescribing and 19 require continuing education for pain management, according to a 2017 study by the Journal of Medical Regulation.

The bill would also require all courses taken to be approved by the practitioner’s board or licensing board and offered by an approved organization.

“The drug epidemic continues to be an issue in our state, and it is important our health care professionals understand how to handle opioid-related situations appropriately,” Head said. “Indiana ranks 11th in opioid prescriptions per population. If passed, this bill would ensure health care professionals are up to date on how to address opioid abuse as well as when to prescribe opioids to their patients.”

The Indiana State Nurses Association expressed their support for the bill.

“The Indiana State Nurses Association supports Sen. Head’s proposal to require continuing education in response to the opioid crisis facing our state.”

Dr. John P. McGoff, M.D. and President of the Indiana State Medical Association (ISMA), testified in favor of the bill.

“ISMA recognizes the value of education as an important tool in the opioid crisis, keeping physicians at the forefront of best practices,” McGoff said.

Head said the idea for this bill was a result of the work of the Task Force on Substance Abuse and Mental Health for Children, which he co-chairs.

SB 225 will now be considered by the full Senate.

SOURCE: News release from the Office of State Senator Randy Head