The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Local Politics

April 25, 2013

Bill to crack down on ‘pill mills’ goes to governor

INDIANAPOLIS —  Legislation that would give the Indiana attorney general new authority to review medical records at pain management clinics across the state is on its way to the governor’s desk.

The bill’s final language, approved Monday by the House, is aimed at shutting down thinly regulated pain management clinics around the state.

Authored by a Jeffersonville pharmacist, Republican state Sen. Ron Grooms, Senate Bill 246 creates a new level of oversight for prescribers of controlled substances, including commonly abused prescription pain medications like hydrocodone and oxycodone.

It requires that owners of facilities — commonly known as pill mills — who employ or contract with individuals to dispense controlled substances must maintain a controlled substance registry. The bill also requires every pain management clinic in Indiana be owned and operated by someone who holds a valid registration to prescribe controlled substances.

And it also gives the attorney general more tools to investigate clinics that are suspected of overprescribing controlled substances and fueling addictions. It creates a process that allows the attorney general’s office to ask the state medical licensing board for permission to inspect medical records at pain clinics.

Currently, the only way for the AG’s office to access those records is to wait for law enforcement to serve a search warrant as part of a criminal investigation.

Democrat Steve Stemler of Jeffersonville worked with Grooms on crafting the bill, after seeing a rise in the suspected pill mills in his district.

“They promote serious drug addiction,” Stemler said. “Right now, Indiana’s laws are so lax, so this bill would tighten oversight in regulation over these facilities.

The bill also requires the Indiana Health Finance Commission to study the use of methadone and opioids in treatment programs and clinic settings.

Grooms said Indiana has had a chronic problem with abuse of prescription drugs, and cited a federal government survey that found Indiana has the second highest rate of high school students who have taken prescription drugs without a doctor’s prescription.

“We need to take steps to make sure this dangerous trend does not continue,” Grooms said.

Attorney General Greg Zoeller supported the legislation. He’s filed actions to revoke the state medical licenses of 14 pain-management doctors in Indiana since the start of 2012, based on their over-prescribing of pain pills.

Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse Bureau for the CNHI newspapers in Indiana. She can be reached at maureen.hayden@indianamediagroup.com.

 

1
Text Only
Local Politics
  • NWS - HB0424 - Linda Smith election mug Serving customers important to both recorder candidates Two Republicans are vying in the May 6 primary for their party's nomination for Madison County recorder and both say this race is all about customer service.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Rep Eric Turner, R-Cicero Turner denies wrongdoing in ethics investigation State Rep. Eric Turner, through written responses, denied breaking any House rules in regard to an Ethics Committee investigation.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Democratic congressional candidates discuss issues

    The three candidates hoping to become the first Democrat to represent portions of central Indiana in more than 25 years met Wednesday in the only planned debate of the primary campaign.

    April 23, 2014

  • NWS - HB0423 - Primary Treasurer Dem - Tamie Dixon-Tatum Treasurer candidates want partnerships

    Democrats Kathy Mougeotte and Tamie Dixon-Tatum explain how they were inspired to run for a political office. They are opponents seeking their party's nomination for treasurer in the May 6 primary.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • NWS-HB0423-Primary Election Treasurer Rep-Micah Mitchell Incumbent challenged by first-time candidate

    Kelly Gaskill says she's made numerous improvements in the operation of the Madison County treasurer's office since taking the helm in 2011. But her Republican challenger in the May 6 primary, Micah Mitchell, doesn't shy away from criticizing how Gaskill has run the office.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Huckabee, Priebus headlining Ind. GOP convention

    Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and National Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus are headlining the Indiana Republican Party's 2014 convention in June.

    April 22, 2014

  • NWS - HB0422 - Commissioners Race-Smith, John First-time candidate Smith challenges Owens Steffanie Owens is seeking the Republican Party nomination for a second term as Madison County commissioner against John Smith who is seeking his first political office.

    April 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Bell leads in sheriff campaign spending

    Going into the final month of the primary election campaign, Scott Mellinger, one of three Democrats seeking the party nomination for sheriff, has the most cash on hand.

    April 22, 2014

  • GOP endorses several primary candidates For the first time in nearly four decades the Madison County Republican Party has endorsed candidates in the May 6 primary.

    April 21, 2014

  • Turner case tests bounds of 'citizen legislature'

    When a legislative ethics panel meets this week to review the case of House Speaker Pro Tem Eric Turner, members could have trouble finding clear-cut answers, in large part because of the Indiana General Assembly's status as a "citizen legislature."

    April 20, 2014

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide