(KCPW News) Legislation that cracks down on prescription drug abuse is receiving bipartisan support from state lawmakers. Republican Representative Brad Daw is sponsoring three bills on the issue, one of which would require doctors to be notified if their patient receives a DUI conviction due to prescription drug abuse. But he says curtailing this problem will require more than just changing the law.
“Probably the most important person or class of individuals that needs to be a part of this is those who are using prescription drugs for legitimate reasons. They need to understand they need to use their drugs only as directed,” he said at a press conference today. “They need to use them carefully, and when they’re done with their drugs, when they no longer need them, they need to dispose of them properly. No single thing is going to be more effective at curbing the problem than that.”
One of Daw’s prescription drug-related bills passed out of the House with near-unanimous support yesterday, the first day of the session.
Democratic Representative Trisha Beck is sponsoring a bill to classify the muscle relaxant carisoprodol as a Schedule Four drug, which would add it to the state’s Controlled Substance Database Program and allow for prescriptions to be tracked. In 2007, her nephew Denver Snarr died from a prescription drug overdose.
“At the time of Denver’s passing, we as a family vowed that we would take our pain and do everything possible so that other families would not need to suffer as we have,” she said. “We vowed that we would teach responsible use of prescription pain medication saves lives.”
According to the Utah Department of Health, unintentional prescription drug overdoses killed more Utahns in 2007 than car crashes. The department has set up a website dedicated to safe prescription drug use, called UseOnlyAsDirected.org.
Whittney Evans contributed to this story.