Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson today signed SB339 into law, taking a great first step in the state’s battle with the opioid epidemic. 

Little Rock, AR – Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson today signed SB339 into law, taking a great first step in the state’s battle with the opioid epidemic. The legislation requires a prescriber to check the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) registry every time Schedule II and Schedule III drugs (painkillers such as Vicodin or OxyContin) are prescribed. The legislation also requires prescribers to check the PDMP the first time a patient is prescribed a benzodiazepine (such as Xanax or Valium). 

A Prescription Drug Monitoring Program can save lives by alerting doctors to early signs of addiction (such as doctor-shopping) and preventing them from accidently prescribing a lethal combination of pills, such as an opioid like Vicodin along with a sedative like Xanax. 

Shatterproof founder and CEO Gary Mendell, who lost his son Brian to addiction in 2011, released the following statement applauding the heroic action taken in Arkansas:

“The bill signed into law yesterday will save the lives of hundreds of Arkansans. With more than 30,000 deaths across the country in 2015, including nearly 400 in Arkansas, it is critical that we do everything possible to limit the number pills overprescribed and prevent the deadly combination with benzodiazepines.

“Governor Hutchinson, State Senator Jeremy Hutchinson and Representative Kim Hammer, as well as advocates across the state, are to be commended for taking a huge step in the right direction towards ending the opioid epidemic in Arkansas. The state will require prescribers to check the PDMP, a simple process with a proven track record of saving lives. Shatterproof will continue to work with lawmakers in Arkansas and across the country to stop the scourge of opioid addiction.”

For more information about Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs, please read Shatterproof’s exclusive report on why these systems work and the best ways for states to implement them.

About Gary Mendell:

Gary Mendell is the founder and CEO of Shatterproof. Mr. Mendell 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.

About Shatterproof:

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.

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