“People don’t realize you don’t automatically have to go to narcotics” State lawmakers address the opioid crisis

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Imagine walking into your doctor’s office after surgery and having the option to opt-out of getting prescribed opioids.

Michigan lawmakers just introduced bipartisan bills to the house that will do just that.

“The legislation will improve the accessibility and visibility of non-opioid directives forms for all Michiganders,” said State Rep. Abdullah Hammoud, D-Dearborn.

Hammoud is passionate about bringing down opioid addictions across the state.

“I’ve had family members that I drove to a clinic to get on track of a recovery,” he said.

During the pandemic, the CDC reported an uptick in opioid use across the country.

That encouraged him to sponsor a bipartisan bill package that gives you a choice to either take over the counter drugs instead of prescribed pills like opioids.

You will fill out a form that says “no matter what happens in my care I do not want opioids as a medical treatment option.”

“This nonopoid form you would fill it out, it would be in your medical profile, its then accessible by all medical providers across the state, but also require hospitals and medical providers to provide you this option of filling it out, and ensuring that we’re walking you through it, and that they have it on your website and make it readily available,” said Hammoud.

And another sponsor of the bills says people get prescribed opioids when they can be avoided.

“It explains to somebody before they are having surgery, before they are having any treatments, what opioids are? What type of options that they have? And then they sign off on whether or not they want to have opioids,” said cosponsor Mary Whiteford, (R-Allegan County.)

Whiteford is a registered nurse and is speaking from experience.

“I’m going to give an example I have a friend who got her knee replaced, I’m going to sent her home with a vile of norco that’s it, and so 4 days later she’s like mary I still need these pills? I don’t understand what’s going on? And ‘I’m like wait he only sent you home with narcotics?’ There’s other ways to do treatment.”

Addiction sometimes starts at the doctor’s office when they get narcotics as pain medicine after surgery.

She says this package of bills will bring more education on what narcotics really do and eventuall bring addiction numbers down and hopefully save lives.

“I think many people don’t realize you don’t automatically have to go to narcotics,” said Whiteford

“4 4 out of 5 heroin addicts started with initial exposure to opioids at some point in time and so if we can avoid the exposure to begin with we can avoid the possibility of addiction later down the line,” said Hammoud.

The forms don’t mean patients could never get opioids, it just gives people the chance to opt of getting such a strong drug in the first place.

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