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KPD Chief heads to Capitol, advocates for stronger pill law

10:19 PM, Mar 25, 2013   |    comments
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Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch will be in Nashville Tuesday to testify to lawmakers about adding more regulations for prescription pills.

Rausch will answer questions from the Senate Health & Welfare and House Criminal Justice committees. He is looking to persuade lawmakers to vote for the "Addison Sharp" bill.

Sharp was a 22-year-old East Tennessean who passed away January 2012 after a four-year battle with prescription drugs.

Rausch said the legislature has already passed two bill in previous sessions that worked to help fight the state's prescription pill problem. However, he said this latest bill should give the state even more power to curb prescription pill abuse.

"It's tearing up the core fabric of our community," Rausch said. "It's a safety issue, it's a health issue, it's a family issue and that's what we're dealing with."

Rausch said nearly 70 percent of Tennessee's incarcerated population is in some way connected with the prescription pill trade.

More Information: Read the legislation here

The bill is multifaceted. It calls for the state to create a "standard of care" for all prescribers and dispensers of controlled substances for treatment of chronic pain. It also calls for all doctors who prescribe pills to undergo "pain management" training for at least 2 hours every 2 years.

"Your regular doctor who prescribes gets a very minimal number of hours training about pain management," he said.

Another big component of the pill, according to Rausch, would be that it would only allow doctors to give patients a 30-day supply of narcotic pills. Currently, they are allowed to give patients up to a 90 day supply. The KPD Chief said by making patients request new prescriptions every 30 days, the state can cut down on the amount of people who store an excessive amount of pills leftover from long prescription periods.

"Now, what they do is they see the opportunity economically to use those pills to make money," Rausch said. "What they'll do is, they'll say, 'if I just take half of the pills the doctor prescribes me, I can sell the other half'."

He said he is hopeful the legislation will pass both committees Tuesday. If the bill passes in both the House and Senate Chambers, Rausch said he believes it may even it make it harder for pain clinics that are considered illegitimate to set up shop in East Tennessee.

The bill would cost the state close to $60,000,000 to enforce, according to the state's "bill summary".

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