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The opioid problem in Minnesota

The fact that Minnesota has an opioid death epidemic is indisputable. In 2008, there were so few deaths of this nature that the CDC did not bother to count them individually. However, in 2014, over one hundred people in Minnesota, alone, died as a result of an opioid overdose. Fatalities occur all around the state, but the highest number of deaths happen in rural areas where medical treatment is difficult to reach.

As opioid deaths rise around the country, the Minnesota State Legislature is taking measures to save lives by introducing a bill that would require physicians to sign up for credentials to log into the state's Prescription Monitoring Program. This bill, which has already progressed through both the House and the Senate, is intended to stop patients from obtaining the same drug prescription from multiple doctors. The hope is that physicians can recognize when the prescription has already been filled.

Another change: The law would no longer require a doctor or dentist to secure consent before checking a patient's records. This change would enable concerned medical professionals to access a patient's prescription records if there is cause to suspect that the person may be abusing opioid prescription medications.

Some medical professionals are not entirely enthusiastic about the bill. Many fear that it would result in more paperwork and higher costs; however, the Board of Pharmacy has gotten behind the new proposal, noting that requiring doctors to have an account with the PMP would automatically result in more medical professionals checking this database. This would ensure patients are not hopping from one doctor to another in an effort to obtain unwarranted medications.

Drug addiction is real

Drug dependency issues can inevitably result in a host of troubles. Emotional, physical, financial and legal struggles are just a few of the common challenges faced by users.

If you or a loved one is struggling with drug addiction, it may be a good time to seek help. Many people become addicted to powerful opioid medications because they are prescribed drugs to relieve chronic pain. Thankfully, there are a few local programs in place that can help individuals overcome prescription-related addictions.

Moreover, those encountering legal issues because of opioid use are encouraged to work with a local advocate. A criminal attorney can alleviate some of the obstacles experienced in the court system that result from drug possession and use. To learn more about this legislative proposal and how it may influence your situation, speak with a legal professional.

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