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.
- February 14 – Governor Walker issued a 30-day disaster declaration so naloxone could be distributed statewide
- February 16 – Governor Walker issued Administrative Order 283 establishing a plan of action that directs state departments to prioritize resources to combat the opioid epidemic and apply for federal grants to fund prevention, treatment and enforcement
- March 6 – Governor Walker filed legislation (HB 159/SB 79) to change the way opioids are prescribed and monitored
- March 10 – Governor Walker filed SB 91 to extend disaster declaration
- March 21 – Governor Walker signed SB 91, life-saving naloxone bill, into law
- April 17 – Governor Walker announced Alaska’s participation in CDC-NGA project
- April 20 – Governor Walker announced Alaska’s receipt of $2 million in federal STOG funds
- May 12 – Governor Walker announced kickoff of contest to name drug dogs
- May 15 – Governor Walker announced winners of drug dog naming contest