Kentucky lawmakers are considering legislation to help prevent ‘end of life’ pain medications from getting into the wrong hands. The measure is backed by Kentucky’s palliative care groups.
In explaining the bill , Northern Kentucky Representative Addia Wuchner began her remarks by talking about the Commonwealth’s opioid epidemic. She says the legislation seeks to ensure proper disposal of controlled substances used by terminally ill patients. “Liquid morphine. Patches that upon the death of an individual those medications risk being diverted to the streets or stolen or the homes being broken into,” said Wuchner.
Amelia McClure is with Hosparus Health, which serves patients in 37 Kentucky and Indiana counties. “It is a stark reality that the opioids are destroying lives across our state and more measures must be taken to get ahead of the emergency. House Bill 148 will assure that hospices will continue to handle these prescriptions with responsibility and that when patients pass on, they do not leave behind a potentially dangerous legacy,” said McClure.
The legislation pertains to schedule two, three, four, and five controlled substances. That would include drugs like morphine, methadone, certain amphetamines, and over the county prescriptions with codeine.
Wuchner says the measure requires signing an agreement to properly dispose of these medications. If upon a death, the drugs are left in the home, Wuchner says law enforcement or public health officials would be notified.