Committee Substitute House Bill 2237 History

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H. B. 2237


(By Delegate Staggers)

(Originating in the Committee on the Judiciary)


[March 21, 2013]


A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new article, designated §16-5X-1, §16-5X-2 and §16-5X-3, all relating to emergency aid medication for patients prescribed opiates or receiving treatment for addiction; establishing a short title; establishing objectives and a purpose; defining terms; establishing the responsibilities of licensed prescribers; and, providing for education of patient, family or caregivers.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:

    That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new article, designated §16-5X-1, §16-5X-2 and §16-5X-3, all to read as follows:


§16-5X-1. Short title.

    This article shall be known and may be cited as the “Offer of Emergency Aid Medication to Patients Prescribed Opiates”.

§16-5X-2. Definitions.

As used in this article:

    (1) “Opiates” or “opioid drugs” means drugs which are members of the natural and synthetic opium family, including but not limited to, heroin, morphine, codeine, methadone, oxycodone, hydrocodone, fentanyl, and hydromorphone.

    (2) “Prescriber” means an individual currently licensed and authorized by law to prescribe drugs or drug therapy devices, in the course of their professional practice. These include but are not limited to, allopathic and osteopathic physicians, physician assistants or osteopathic physician assistants who hold a certificate to prescribe drugs, advanced nurse practitioners who hold a certificate to prescribe drugs, optometrists, podiatrists, and others as allowed by law.

    (3) “Naloxone” means naloxone hydrochloride, an opioid antagonist, also known as “Narcan”, approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of an opiate or opioid drug overdose by intranasal administration.

    (4) “Necessary education and information” means educating and training individuals to prevent, recognize and respond to opiate overdose, and that provides at a minimum training in:

    (A) The cause of opiate overdose;

    (B) How to recognize the symptoms of an opiate overdose;

    (C) How and when to contact appropriate emergency medical services; and

    (D) How to administer an opioid antagonist.

    (4) “Opioid antagonist” means a federal Food and Drug Administration approved drug that, when administered, negates or neutralizes in whole or in part the pharmacological effects of an opioid in the body. The opioid antagonist is limited to Naloxone or other medications approved for this purpose.

§16-5X-3. Purpose and objectives.

    (a) The purpose of this article is to prevent deaths in circumstances involving patients who have accidently overdosed on prescribed opioid medications.

    (b) By offering the drug Naloxone to patients who are prescribed opiates, the medication can be made available to patients, their families, or caregivers who are often circumstantially best equipped to serve as first responders, in the event of an accidental overdose.

    (c) Prescribers may offer a prescription for Naloxone, a drug that reverses the effects of opiate overdose, to patients who are prescribed opiates for chronic pain or as part of a methadone or suboxone treatment program.

    (d) Prescribers are required to make available or provide patients, their families, or caregivers with the necessary education and information regarding the proper use of Naloxone.

§16-5X-4. Prescriber responsibility.

    (a) All prescribers in the course of their professional practice may offer to patients, to whom they also prescribe opiates for chronic pain or, patients engaged in methadone or suboxone treatment programs, a prescription for the drug Naloxone.

    (b) All prescribers who may offer the prescription drug Naloxone to their patients under this section shall make information and education available to patients, their family members, or caregivers on the beneficial and proper use of Naloxone.

    (c) When a prescription is written to the patient for Naloxone, or the patient enters a methadone or suboxone addiction treatment program, the education component of this subsection, offered to the patient, his or her family or caregiver, is required as a condition of obtaining the prescription or entering the addiction treatment program.

    This article is new; therefore, it has been completely underscored.

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