A bill authored by State Sen. Erin Houchin (R-Salem) aimed at combatting the increasing drug epidemic in Indiana by reforming usage practices for Indiana’s prescription drug monitoring system (INSPECT) was ceremonially signed into law today at Franciscan Health by Gov. Eric Holcomb.

Senate Enrolled Act 221 requires all prescribers of controlled substances to register with INSPECT and search a patient’s prescription history prior to writing a prescription for an opioid or benzodiazepine.

INSPECT allows a prescriber of opioids or benzodiazepines to search a patient’s previous prescription history to determine if they are “doctor shopping” for multiple prescriptions, are using their prescriptions at a rate higher than prescribed, or are at risk for an overdose. Without SEA 221, registration and regular searches of the INSPECT system are voluntary.

“In order for INSPECT to be a valuable tool, it needs to be used efficiently and routinely,” Houchin said. “Overprescribing opiates is one of the main contributors to this epidemic. By requiring mandatory INSPECT registration and searches, we will combat opiate addiction at the source – the prescription pad. Determining if patients are doctor shopping or abusing opiates is a critical step to curbing prescription drug abuse in Indiana.”

SEA 221 requires practitioners who wish to prescribe opioids or benzodiazepines to register with INSPECT and perform mandatory searches, which will be phased in over a three-year period:

  • Prescribers in emergency rooms and pain management clinics are required to register and search by Jan. 1, 2019;
  • prescribers in hospital settings are required to participate by Jan. 1, 2020; and
  • all other prescribers are required by Jan. 1, 2021.

This legislation was a part of the Senate Majority Caucus’ 2018 Agenda and Gov. Eric Holcomb’s 2018 Next Level Agenda.