Sen. Marty Knollenberg
Sen. Marty Knollenberg

LANSING, Mich. — The Senate Committee on Health Policy on Tuesday approved legislation that would help aid the state’s ongoing effort against the rising opioid abuse epidemic.

“My district, like many across the state, is home to some of the most heartbreaking stories you can imagine, and like many others, the culprit was some form of opioid,” said Knollenberg, R-Troy. “From prescription medications to heroin, these drugs are taking too many young lives and we need to fight back as hard as we can.”

Senate Bill 273 would require any health care professional who treats a patient for an opioid-related overdose to provide information to the patient regarding substance abuse treatments, while SB 274, which Knollenberg sponsored, is primarily aimed at reducing the number of unused opioids in medicine cabinets and on the streets.

Specifically, the bill would limit prescriptions for acute pain to seven days. These are typically short-term prescriptions for minor injuries like a sprained ankle or getting wisdom teeth removed.

Doctors consider seven days enough time to manage pain during healing, while greatly reducing the chance of unused pills finding their way back into the medicine cabinet.

Knollenberg points to these unfinished prescriptions as a leading contributor to the epidemic.

“I chose to sponsor this particular bill because I think when people start to feel better, or their pain becomes manageable, they toss the half-full bottle of pills back into the cabinet without knowing how many pills are in it and it sits there unmonitored,” he said. “It is this unchecked access to such powerful medication that has led so many down the path of addiction.”

SBs 273 and 274 were unanimously approved by the Senate Committee on Health Policy and will now go before the full Senate for a vote.