Newswise — The Arkansas Society of Anesthesiologists (ARSA) and the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) today applaud bill sponsor Sen. Cecile Bledsoe and the Arkansas Senate Public Health, Labor and Welfare Committee for helping to ensure the safety of patients prescribed opioids. Arkansas State Drug Director Kirk Lane and Jonathan Goree, M.D., a physician anesthesiologist and pain medicine specialist, testified for the bill.
“This is a big win for Arkansas patients. Opioids can pose risks even when prescribed appropriately. Overdoses are on the rise and it’s important to equip patients and their families with a way to prevent people from dying,” said ARSA President Caroline Reynolds, M.D. “This bill will require that naloxone, a drug that can rapidly reverse an opioid overdose, be prescribed to certain at-risk patients to protect them from possible overdose and its consequences. As champions for patient safety and being pain medicine specialists, Arkansas’s physician anesthesiologists wholly support this bill.”
SB 505 passed unanimously out of the Arkansas Senate Public Health, Labor and Welfare Committee yesterday and is set to be voted on by the full Senate.
The bill would amend the Naloxone Access Act by requiring naloxone also be prescribed to patients when they receive an opioid prescription beyond a certain dosage (50 morphine milligram equivalents); are also taking or have been prescribed “benzodiazepine,” a sedative; or have a history of opioid use disorder or drug overdose.
ARSA and ASA congratulate the Sen. Bledsoe and Arkansas Senate Public Health committee on this important bill that protects patients. Opioids are powerful drugs that can help manage pain, but it’s important to use them under a physician’s supervision to avoid overuse and addiction.