To help fight the ongoing opioid epidemic, the Oklahoma Legislature passed Senate Bill 1446 to help regulate prescribing practices. However, one local physician says the bill comes with a lot of challenges.

Senate Bill 1446 went into effect in November of 2018, to regulate the prescribing of opioids to patients. Among other things, the bill limits initial prescriptions for acute pain to a seven-day supply, after that patients have to be re-examined to be prescribed more medication.

“The problem with SB 1446, is that no one, I don’t think, asked any doctor’s to participate in the creation of that bill,” said Internal Medicine Physician, Dr. Richard Brittingham.

Brittingham says this bill is not doctor or patient friendly.

“It puts a real strain on patients, in terms of their lives,” said Brittingham. “They have to come down to my office once a month before I can give them a prescription, I have to assess them.”

He says that legislators and physicians alike want to work together to end the opioid crisis, but that this bill is not the way to do it.

“Nobody wants to see someone overdose on opioids,” said Brittingham. “No doctor wants to see the. None of us. We want to work with them. But it has to be logical, make sense, and be logistically possible.”

He worries this bill may push patients to seek other resources for their pain meds.

“I fear there is going to be an up tick in suicides as a result of patients having severe pain and not being able to treat their pain effectively,” said Brittingham. “This bill is not in the end going to work.”

The bill also requires physicians to have at least one hour of opioid prescribing training a year. Doctor’s at CCMH earn it by attending their Physicians Pain Management Advisory Council meetings.