Lawmakers Propose One Week Limit on Opiate Prescriptions

The Public Health Committee of the General Assembly wants to see a one-week limit on all prescriptions that contain opiates.

Opiates, which are in the heroin family of narcotics, and their use have been described as both an epidemic and a crisis by local law enforcement and Gov. Dannel Malloy.

“It’s too late for Nick but something fast and furious needs to be done here" said Sue Kruczek, who lost her son Nick at the age of 21 to a heroin overdose.

She says he took his first dose of oxycodone at the age of 14 before a hockey game and was hooked ever since. He eventually went to rehab but it wasn't enough.

“His very first game, an upper classman tossed him a little white pill to help him relax. Nick must have liked the way it made him feel because he later told us he never skated a high school game sober.”

Lawmakers say a one week limit on opiate prescriptions from doctors will lead to fewer pills in ready supply in medicine cabinets across the state. Refills would have to be filled by a doctor in person.

Members of the public health committee kept pointing to how minor procedures like wisdom teeth removal will lead to prescriptions of up to 30 days of drugs that lead to addiction like oxycodone and percocet.

Rep. Sean Scanlon, (D - Guilford), said, “55% of those last year who misused prescription drug pills got them from a friend or a relative. This starts very innocently and most people who start out taking these probably would tell you today that they wish they hadn’t because they never knew how bad it was going to get from there.”

Dr. Daniel Tobin from the Yale University School of Medicine said such a law could provide doctors with a sort of fall back to tell patients they shouldn't prescribe them more than a few days worth of pain killers.

“We’re under pressure from patients who are suffering to do more and more," Dr. Tobin said."Sometimes even though our better judgment might be to limit what we’re giving a patient, it can be really hard to sit across from a patient who is in pain and say, ‘no, this is not safe for you.’”

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