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6/25/2021 House OKs Fellela bill targeting reckless prescription practices
STATE HOUSE — The House of Representatives Wednesday gave its approval to legislation introduced by Rep. Deborah A. Fellela (D-Dist. 43, Johnston) that addresses the opioid epidemic by creating penalties for irresponsible prescription practices.

The bill (2021-H 5098A) would grant any licensing board responsible for governing the professional conduct of individuals with the authority to prescribe controlled substances the authority to fine licensees found guilty of unprofessional conduct or violating any provision of the general laws. The bill is aimed primarily at discouraging reckless overprescribing of opioid painkillers.

“In many cases, opioid addiction begins with prescribed painkillers,” said Representative Fellela. “The ramifications of reckless over-prescribing has led to an epidemic that has harmed society and torn families apart. This legislation will provides some serious consequences for the handful of physicians who are neglecting to prevent addiction.”

While no fine would be allowed for a first offense, second offenses could result in fines of up to $1,000, and subsequent offenses could result in up to $5,000 each in fines. The bill also allows the Board of Medical Licensure and Discipline to recover more of its administrative costs from proceedings if a licensee is found guilty of an offense. Currently, the board can recover up to $10,000. The bill would raise the cap to $30,000.

The measure now moves to the Senate, which has passed similar legislation (2021-S 0256Aaa) introduced by Sen. Joshua Miller (D-Dist. 28, Cranston, Providence).

For more information, contact:
Daniel Trafford, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903