INDIANA (WHAS11) -- A Southern Indiana lawmaker says too many opiates are being prescribed in Indiana and has filed a bill to make getting a prescription more difficult.
The legislation aims to crack down on doctor shopping, or the practice of seeking multiple physicians to illicitly obtain multiple prescriptions.
Senate Bill 221, filed on the first day of the 2018 session, requires physicians to register for Indiana's Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, better known as INSPECT. Registering for the tool is currently done on a voluntary basis.
INSPECT allows doctors to search a patient's prescription history so they can determine if someone is doctor shopping or using certain medications more quickly than prescribed. Under the bill, doctors would be required to search a patient's prescription history before prescribing an opioid or benzodiazepine.
Republican Sen. Erin Houchin of Salem, Ind. authored the bill. She said INSPECT reform is a crucial step in the continued fight against the opioid epidemic, which has been partially fueled by the overprescribing of addictive drugs.
According to the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency, 15.1 million prescriptions for opiates were written in Indiana in 2016, accounting for more than one billion opioid doses and making Indiana the 8th highest prescribing state in the nation.
"That was an average of 160 pills for every man, woman and child directly contributing to drug addiction and the millions of pills inundating our streets and communities,” Houchin said.
Houchin said several states have had success implementing similar measures, including the state of New York which saw a 70 percent decline in doctor shopping after implementing mandatory searches of a patient's prescription history.
“We want to see physicians who are prescribing opiates utilize, fully, the tools which we have available to cut back on the over-prescription of these addictive drugs,” Houchin said.
The bill is currently being vetted by the Committee on Health and Provider Services.