Bill to improve opioid addiction treatment could soon become law

Bill to improve opioid addiction treatment could soon become law

Posted by: Jake Thompson  | Tuesday, April 2, 2019

STATEHOUSE (April 2, 2019) – The House of Representatives and Senate recently approved legislation sponsored by State Rep. Ben Smaltz (R-Auburn) in an effort to improve office-based opioid treatment centers.

These treatment centers often prescribe Suboxone to patients who are dependent on either prescription or illegal opioids. According to Smaltz, Suboxone is significantly less addictive than heroin, but can be even more dangerous when mixed with other drugs.

“Opioid abuse takes away Hoosiers’ lives every day,” Smaltz said. “As lawmakers, we want to do all we can to help those struggling with addiction find a path to recovery. Right now, many treatment centers are not appropriately meeting the needs of patients.” 

Senate Enrolled Act 141 would implement a set of guidelines for all doctors and office-based opioid treatment centers to follow, much like the state’s Methadone clinic structure. Indiana has 19 Methadone clinics, and according to law, that number would be capped at 27 centers. In stark contrast, there are approximately 650 Suboxone clinics across the state.

“Some of these opioid clinics do not provide the same type of comprehensive care given by the state’s Methadone clinics,” Smaltz said. “We need to provide individualized treatment plans that require accountability and ensure abuse of Suboxone is not taking place.”

Smaltz said there is likely fraud being committed in some instances as the amount of Medicaid dollars going to these treatment centers has risen dramatically. Medicaid spending increased at these clinics by $22 million from 2014 to 2017.

This legislation will also require those prescribing Suboxone at these treatment centers to check Indiana’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program database. This will help eliminate “doctor shopping,” or obtaining controlled substances from doctors without prior knowledge of other prescriptions.

“This comprehensive piece of legislation is designed to help attack the opioid epidemic from a new angle,” Smaltz said. “Like with the scourge of methamphetamine, there is not a silver bullet solution. It takes extensive and sweeping efforts to turn the tide. This is just one way the General Assembly is working to address the opioid epidemic in our state.”

Senate Enrolled Act 141 is now eligible for action by the governor and could soon become law. Visit iga.in.gov to learn more.

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State Rep. Ben Smaltz (R-Auburn) represents all of

DeKalb County, and portions of Steuben and Allen counties.

A high-resolution photo of Smaltz can be downloaded by clicking here.