Lt. Gov. Calley: Law requiring health care providers to counsel patients on risks of opioids before prescribing goes into effect June 1

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

LANSING, Mich. – Health care providers will soon be required to counsel patients about the risks of taking opioids before writing an initial prescription for the drugs, Lt. Gov. Brian Calley announced today.

“The opioid epidemic is sweeping our nation and preventing addiction from occurring in the first place is an essential step to saving lives,” Calley said. “It’s critical that people understand the risks associated with opioids before taking them and this new law ensures that education happens before a prescription is written.”

This law, which also requires patients to sign a consent form after learning the risks, was part of a legislative package signed by Calley in December 2017. As of June 1, health care providers will be required to provide information on the following to a patient before prescribing an opioid for other than inpatient use:

  • The risks of addiction and overdose associated with opioids.
  • That individuals with mental illness and substance use disorders may have an increased risk of addiction to a controlled substance. (Required only for minors.)
  • That mixing opioids with benzodiazepines, alcohol, muscle relaxers or other drugs that suppress the central nervous systems can cause serious health risks, including death or disability. (Required only for minors.)
  • The short- and long-term effects of exposing a fetus to a controlled substance if the patient is pregnant or is a female of reproductive age.
  • That delivery of a controlled substance is a felony under Michigan law.
  • How to properly dispose of an expired, unused or unwanted controlled substance.

“Although sometimes medically necessary, opioids are a controlled substance and can be highly addictive,” said Dr. Eden Wells, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Chief Medical Executive. “This law is an effort to ensure patients know the risks associated with the prescription they are about to receive and make an educated decision about their health care.”

The law also required the development of an Opioid Start Talking form that that must be signed by the patient or a patient’s parent or guardian if the patient in under 18. This form certifies the provider shared the information and must be included in the patient’s medical record. The form can be located at www.Michigan.gov/stopoverdoses under the prescriber tab.

“Combating the opioid epidemic is going to require a collective effort between state agencies, health professionals and local communities,” said LARA Director Shelly Edgerton. “The new processes created by these laws necessitate meaningful and intentional conversations between physicians and patients which will enhance understanding about the potentially harmful and addictive properties of opioids.”

The state is using every available tool to combat the opioid epidemic. The collaborative efforts of state agencies amplifies Michigan’s efforts related to prevention and treatment of patients, education of health professionals and enforcement of overprescribers. Efforts include:

  • Providing online resources for patients, health professionals and communities about prevention and treatment of opioid abuse.
  • The Michigan Automated Prescription System provides real-time prescription data and resources to better assess a patient’s risk for substance use disorder
  • Assistance with proper drug disposal of unwanted medications.
  • Michigan State Police posts serving as drug-take back sites and providing the Angel Program for individuals struggling with addiction.

These efforts are advised by the Prescription Drug and Opioid Abuse Commission which is made up of health professionals, law enforcement officers, substance abuse treatment providers, government officials and citizens.

For more information about opioids and the additional steps residents can take to protect themselves and loved ones, visit Michigan.gov/stopoverdoses.

# # #