There's mixed reaction in NWLA to bill fighting opioid crisis

There's mixed reaction in NWLA to bill fighting opioid crisis

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - While the measure to limit most first-time pain killer prescriptions in Louisiana from 30 days down to 7 now awaits the governor's signature, here at home there's been mixed reaction.

That includes from Dr. Randy Brewer, a pain specialist with Willis Knighton Health System.

"Overall I am apprehensive. I'm supportive in the intent. I'm apprehensive in the one-size-fits-all approach," said Dr. Brewer.

While the new law won't apply to chronic conditions, Dr. Randy Brewer still worries.

"I think the net effect is very likely to be that patients will receive under-treatment in the short term," added Brewer.

At the Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse of Northwest Louisiana in Shreveport, executive director Bill Rose said this new law will help some, but by itself will likely just shift the addiction problem.

"For those that can't get access to legitimate prescriptions ultimately return to illicit drug use," explained Rose.

Rose told us that in 2000 10% of CADA clients were dealing with an opioid addiction. Today it's 40%.

He supports the logic of dropping most first-time prescription supplies to 7 days because the strategy attacks the overall supply of opioids.

"Through law enforcement, pharmacy or legislation. They still have an issue that requires some level of treatment," said Rose. And he concluded that's where CADA comes in to help.

Dr. Brewer added that he hopes the very same people who helped push this legislation forward into law will come back in six months to a year to see if this legislation did what it was intended to do.

The Louisiana House unanimously approved the proposal on Thursday.

The bill comes from Rep. Helena Moreno of New Orleans, who contended that 30-day prescriptions are excessive and can lead to abuse.

The statement released by Gov. Edwards supporting the measure, also presented some alarming statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It showed a 12% increase in opioid overdose deaths for 2014-2015.

The CDC also ranks Louisiana in the top 20 for states with a significant increase in opioid deaths.

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