The Ohio House of Representatives passed legislation today to prevent the diversion of opioids from their intended use in a hospice care setting.

House Bill 366, sponsored by Representative Robert Sprague (R-Findlay), would ensure that controlled substances containing opioids that are prescribed to a hospice care patient are better accounted for by requiring the hospice program to establish procedures to prevent the diversion of the drugs.

“This bill is to help ensure that painkillers do not fall into the wrong hands—especially of someone who struggles with addiction,” said Rep. Sprague, who recently chaired the Ohio House Prescription Drug Addiction and Healthcare Reform Study Committee. “We too often find that leftover prescriptions are not properly disposed of or stored, meaning they have the potential to be misused by someone who they were not prescribed to.”

House Bill 366 will require hospice programs that provide care in residential settings to follow a set of best practices, including establishing a written policy containing procedures for the disposal of medications. As part of the plan of care, the written policy will be given to the patient and family upon the start of treatment.

Among other provisions in the bill, the care environment must be assessed for risk factors of drug abuse, medications must be monitored and opioid medications must be disposed of when they are no longer needed. If medications included in the plan of care are not disposed of properly, the hospice provider must report the situation to local law enforcement.

House Bill 366 will now move to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.

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