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Governor Walker Thanks Legislature for Passing Bill to Combat Opioid Epidemic

HB 159 allows patients to decline opioid prescriptions, limits supply, and increases oversight


June 1, 2017 JUNEAU – Governor Bill Walker today thanked the legislature for arming Alaskans with more tools in the fight against Alaska’s opioid epidemic. This afternoon, the Senate passed House Bill 159 which contains provisions that will aid state healthcare boards and medical professionals through education and improved use of prescription opioids. The bill now goes back to the House for concurrence.


“Since I issued a disaster declaration in February, our administration has taken a multi-pronged approach to address our opioid epidemic–with everyone pulling together,” Governor Walker said. “HB 159 represents another step in our efforts to build a Safer Alaska, and ensure the well-being of our citizens. I thank the legislature for passing the bill, and look forward to signing it when it reaches my desk.”


HB 159 allows patients to execute a voluntary non-opioid directive, making it clear that they do not want an opioid. The confidential information would be provided to an individual’s healthcare provider or hospital, and is revocable at any time. Alaskans will also be able to request partial fills of opioid prescriptions from pharmacists, without voiding the remainder of the prescription. The legislation also limits first-time opioid prescriptions to no more than a seven-day supply with exceptions, strengthens reporting and education requirements for pharmacists and healthcare providers, and requires the controlled substance prescription database to be updated daily starting July 1, 2018, instead of weekly, to increase transparency and communication among providers.




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