Lawmakers Send Opioid Prescription Monitoring Bill to Governor Reynolds

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  A bill that would change how doctors prescribe opioids is headed to Governor Kim Reynolds' desk.

On Wednesday morning the Iowa House unanimously passed House File 2377 after the Iowa Senate passed it on Tuesday.

Lawmakers hope the bill will make it easier to stop "doctor shopping" by addicts.  The bill requires all opioid prescriptions to be filled electronically.  Doctors are also required to report any opioid prescription they write to the state's drug monitoring program with 24 hours.

Lawmakers admit the bill does nothing to stop what is widely considered the root of the opioid crisis: over-prescribing pain pills to patients.  "Remember after five or six days the tendency to become an addict begins to grow.  That's where it all starts: over-prescribing," says State Representative David Heaton of Mount Pleasant, "I wish we could have done something about it in this bill.   We didn't get there bu that's something for next year maybe."

A proposed amendment to create a needle exchange program in the state was defeated in the House.  Supporters say cases of Hepatitis C are increasing in the state as more opioid addicts turn to intravenous drugs.