Esgar’s Bipartisan Bill to Help Address Opioid Crisis Signed by Gov. Polis

(Apr. 8) – A bipartisan bill, sponsored by Rep. Daneya Esgar, D-Pueblo, to require doctors to prescribe certain drugs electronically was signed into law today by Gov. Jared Polis.

“I’m thankful we were able to get this bipartisan bill passed and signed into law because we need to do whatever we can do to address the opioid crisis harming individuals and families across Southern Colorado,” said Rep. Esgar. “This new law will streamline responsible prescribing practices so we can help to decrease the chance of someone falling into the cycle of addiction.”

SB19-079 requires that certain professions with the ability to prescribe Schedule II, III, IV drugs be prescribed electronically, with some exceptions. The bill gives rulemaking authority to the respective oversight boards for the professions to establish the process for exceptions. It also says that a pharmacist does not need to verify an exception when filling a prescription for a schedule II, III, or IV drug.

Democrats in the legislature are committed to addressing the opioid crisis. With the widespread ability to purchase fake paper prescription pads online, this bill will cut down on fraudulent prescriptions getting filled by connecting the pharmacist directly with the prescriber.

SB19-079 passed the House in March with a bipartisan vote on 60-4. It passed unanimously in the Senate.

Last week, the House approved the state budget package for fiscal year 2019-20, which will begin on July 1, 2019. Joint Budget Committee vice-chair Rep. Daneya Esgar, Speaker KC Becker, Majority Leader Alec Garnett, and Rep. Chris Hansen, reached a bipartisan agreement with the leadership of all four legislative caucuses on a total of $300 million in transportation funding.

“We are proud to put forward a responsible bipartisan budget that works for all of Colorado,” Rep. Esgar, D-Pueblo, said after the budget was approved. “Hardworking families and individuals will be well served by the historic investments we are making in education, transportation, mental and behavioral health and other priorities.”

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