GOP bill would limit opioid prescriptions for first-time users

GOP bill would limit opioid prescriptions for first-time users
© Getty Images

Two Republican lawmakers are proposing to restrict the prescriptions of opioids for first-time users, calling it a necessary step to combat abuse.

A new bill introduced Wednesday by Reps. Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsEx-Ukraine ambassador arrives to give testimony GOP seeks to gain more control of impeachment narrative Conservative lawmakers demand Schiff's recusal from Trump impeachment inquiry MORE (R-N.C.) and Jim RenacciJames (Jim) B. RenacciMedicare for All won't deliver what Democrats promise GOP rep: If Mueller had found collusion, 'investigation would have wrapped up very quickly' House Ethics Committee extends probe into Renacci MORE (R-Ohio) would limit a patient's first opioid prescription for acute pain to seven days, except in cases of traumatic injury, chronic conditions, cancer care, end-of-life care, palliative care, or based on a physician’s recommendation.

"This is a bill that we believe will go a long way in helping our nation get on the road to recovery from the opioid devastation by placing common-sense parameters around prescription medication," the lawmakers wrote in an op-ed for Fox News. 

"The limitation to seven days would appropriately lower risks of abuse, while also providing flexibility for doctors and patients to receive treatment where needed."

The bill lines up with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). 

CDC research shows that the risks for addiction to prescription opioids dramatically increases around seven days, the lawmakers said. 

Both Ohio and North Carolina have been hit particularly hard by the opioid crisis: Ohio leads the nation in prescription opioid overdose deaths, while more than 1,000 died from overdoses in North Carolina in 2015. 

"No longer can we as a country turn a blind eye to this issue. Families have been broken, children left without parents, and communities overrun by an epidemic that can be prevented," the lawmakers wrote.

President Trump declared the opioid epidemic a public health emergency in October, though Democrats argue Congress needs to appropriate more funding to fight it.