Unfortunately, the final bill included several loopholes favored by powerful special interests that will result in more Georgians overdosing and losing their lives because of opioids than otherwise would be.
ATLANTA - The Georgia General Assembly passed House Bill 249 yesterday in an attempt to improve the state’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) and help stem Georgia’s growing opioid epidemic. Unfortunately, the final bill included several loopholes favored by powerful special interests that will result in more Georgians overdosing and losing their lives because of opioids than otherwise would be.
The loopholes included carve outs that would not require doctors to review a patient’s history under three circumstances: refillable prescriptions, prescriptions related to outpatient surgeries, and patients undergoing treatment for cancer.
It is important for Georgians to understand that the elimination of these loopholes would not limit a doctor’s ability to prescribe medications. Rather, the elimination of these loopholes would require doctors to check a patient’s history to ensure they are not prescribing medications that could be lethal if taken in combination with another medication that patient is already taking.
Gary Mendell, the founder and CEO of Shatterproof, released this statement on HB 249:
“This bill is a tragic missed opportunity to save the lives of Georgians, who should not sleep well tonight knowing that their elected legislators failed to protect them. The loopholes included in this bill on behalf of powerful special interests will limit the effectiveness of Georgia’s PDMP and more people will die from a drug overdose. I sincerely pray that the legislature will revisit this issue, eliminate the loopholes, make prescriptions safer and allow the PDMP to save as many lives as possible.”
About Gary Mendell:
Gary Mendell is the founder and CEO of Shatterproof. Gary founded Shatterproof to spare others the tragedy his family suffered with the loss of his son Brian to addiction in 2011. Gary is an experienced businessman and CEO, who founded HEI Hotels & Resorts and is the former president of Starwood Lodging Trust.
Shatterproof is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing the devastation the disease of addiction causes families. Shatterproof works to end the stigma and foster a community of support for families. Shatterproof provides families with evidence-based resources to support prevention, treatment and recovery. Shatterproof advocates for changes in policy at the federal and state level and supports the development and implementation of evidence-based solutions for substance-use disorders.