Patients or their doctors would be able to request that pharmacies partially fill prescriptions for opioids under a bill introduced in the General Assembly aimed at reducing the risk of opioid abuse.
The bill (H-7416) introduced by Rhode Island House Speaker Nicholas A. Mattiello is designed to reduce the risk of abusing opioids by limiting the number of unused pills left in medicine chests. “One of the things we’ve heard about the opioid crisis from the Centers for Disease Control is that almost 80 percent of people who are at the highest risk of overdose initially acquired pills that were legally prescribed to someone — either themselves, a friend of a relative,” Mattiello said in a statement. “This is an important step in reducing the number of pills that are out there.” The bill would require pharmacists to record only the actual amounts of the drug dispensed in the statewide database maintained by the Department of Health that tracks opioids and other controlled substances. Subsequent fills also would have to be dispensed at the same pharmacy where the original prescription was partially filled, to reduce the risk of duplicate fills. The prescription also would expire after 30 days. The bill has been referred for a hearing to the House Committee on Health, Education and Welfare.