Restrictions on Opioid Prescriptions Passes Initial Vote

Lawmaker says measure aims to stop small number of physicians who overprescribe the drugs

By Dillon Tabish

HELENA — The Montana House has given initial approval to a measure that would restrict doctors from prescribing more than a seven-day supply of opioid drugs to first-time patients.

The bill’s sponsor, Democratic Rep. Zach Brown of Bozeman, says the measure aims to stop the small number of physicians in the state who overprescribe the drugs, which include oxycodone, codeine, hydrocodone and others.

Brown says there are too many of the addictive narcotics being sold or given away in Montana communities.

Opponents of the bill say most doctors and pharmacists already limit opioid prescriptions, and that state lawmakers shouldn’t be legislating medicine.

The bill passed second reading Wednesday on a 53-47 vote. It must pass a final vote before it goes to the Senate for consideration.

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