At the end of 2017, a 10 bill package was signed into law aimed at addressing Michigan’s growing opioid addiction problem. Our new opiod drug laws took effect just days ago on June 1, 2018. They change the way doctors here in Michigan can prescribe pain medication to patients. Curious about what the new laws are and how they could affect you? You’re not alone – a lot of people have voiced those exact concerns. So we’re her to do a quick breakdown for you.
Why do we need new opioid laws in Michigan?
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, 1,275 people died from opioid and heroin related overdoses in Michigan in 2015. Of those deaths, 884 were directly attributed to opioid overdose, putting Michigan at number 7 in the nation for highest number of opioid-related deaths. These alarming statistic include towns and cities all over Detroit, over to Lansing, on to Grand Rapids, up to Traverse City and over to The Thumb.
In 2010 there were only 444 opioid-related deaths, which means the number has doubled in just five years. In addition, Michigan is, and has been for several years, one of the highest-ranking states in the nation for prescribing opioid pain relievers.
What do the new laws say?
Under the new drug laws, doctors are required to inform their patients about the dangers of opioid addiction. They are also required to discuss with them how to safely dispose of unused opioids so that they aren’t misused by someone else.
Another change is the mandatory use of the Michigan Automated Prescription System (MAPS). Now, before prescribing a patient even a three day supply of an opioid painkiller, a doctor must check MAPS to see that patient’s drug use history. If the patient is believed to be at risk for opioid addiction, the doctor must address that issue.
Starting July 1st, another new law states that a doctor cannot prescribe more than 7 days of opioid medication. Once the seven days are up, if that patient is still suffering from acute pain, their doctor will be able to prescribe them one more week’s worth, but only after meeting with the patient to discuss their situation and ensure that the need for opioids is valid.
How will this affect people who need pain relief in Michigan?
Many people are concerned about these new laws. They believe it means they will no longer be able to get the painkillers they need, when they need them. However, remember, the new laws do not forbid doctors from prescribing opioids to the people who need them. All they require is a more hands on approach when it comes to monitoring a person’s possible addiction, and access to addictive medications. Chronic pain sufferers complain that our new opioid laws add to their already difficult lives.
Some of Michigan’s new drug laws may seem extreme, but there has been significant support for the changes. Michigan has a reputation on a national scale as being not only one the least monitored states when it comes to opioid access, but as a pipeline for opioids being trafficked into southern states. Legislators, law enforcement and even most doctors believe these new laws will help keep the people of Michigan safer and reduce chances of addiction.
Have you been accused of drug crimes in Michigan?
Being accused of drug-related crimes will have a huge impact on your life! You can lose your professional license, have your reputation ruined, and end up behind bars. It can also mean losing relationships with loved ones, and in some cases, CPS will step in and threaten to remove your children. Drug-related charges will have all kinds of terrible, long term consequences.
At The Kronzek Firm, our experienced and aggressive criminal defense attorneys have spent decades helping people all over the lower peninsula of Michigan fight drug charges. When you are ready to begin your fight, call our team 24/7 at 1 866 7NoJail (1 866-766-5245) or email us at: Attorneys@KronzekFirm.com