Legislation to Help Keep Opioids Out of the Hands of Youth Passes First Policy Committee
SACRAMENTO – Assembly Bill 2592, authored by Assemblymember Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove), was unanimously approved today by the Assembly Health Committee. The bill would establish the Opioid Abuse Prevention Pilot Program to increase the level of safety and encourage the safe storage of prescription drugs to curb the rise in prescription drug abuse cases among children and young adults.
“In the past two weeks, 42 people have overdosed and 10 have died in the Sacramento area from the prescription painkiller fentanyl,” said Assemblymember Cooper. “Too often teenagers are pilfering through their parent’s medicine cabinets looking for ways to get high. That’s why I introduced AB 2592, if we provide pharmacies the option to dispense opioid prescriptions in a code locking package; it could help significantly decrease abuse of opioids among our youth.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 70 percent of addictive medications are obtained for illegal use from a friend or relative, and more frequently from their medicine cabinets. Subsequently, the CDC reports that fewer than three percent of households lockup their prescription drugs.
Drug overdose death rates have more than tripled over the past two decades and are arguably the largest healthcare epidemic in the United States.
AB 2592 establishes a pilot program to measure whether increasing safe storage of opioids reduces the number of accidental poisonings and reduces the overall prescription drug abuse rate among teens.
The Department of Public Health would administer the voluntary pilot program and award grants to participating pharmacies in areas with high rates of prescription drug abuse.
Additionally, the bill requires a report to the Legislature and will sunset on January 1, 2020.
AB 2592 will next be heard by the Assembly Business and Professions Committee.
Assemblymember Cooper represents the Cities of Sacramento, Elk Grove, Galt and Lodi.