Today, state Reps. Abdullah Hammoud (D-Dearborn), Pamela Hornberger (R-Chesterfield Township) and Mary Whiteford (R-Casco Township) held a press conference unveiling a package of bills aimed at expanding the availability and accessibility of nonopioid directive forms in the state. Nonopioid directive forms allow patients to opt-out of opioid-based pain management unless deemed medically necessary, allowing them to avoid exposure to the class of drugs. Similar bills have been passed in state legislatures across the country.
“When schools feel it necessary to carry Narcan in the classroom, you know we have an opioid problem,” said Hammoud. “This problem continues to take the lives of our loved ones and is only being exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. For Michiganders struggling to end their opioid addiction, we can’t allow a hospital visit to be the reason they relapse. To prevent this, my colleagues and I are introducing a bipartisan package of bills that would increase the accessibility of nonopioid directive forms, giving you the freedom to be involved in your own medical decisions.”
Hammoud’s sponsored bill would mandate health care providers make these forms available upon plan enrollment. Hornberger’s sponsored bill would require hospitals to make nonopioid directive forms on their website, while Whiteford’s would require insurers to do so. Currently, only the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is required to have the nonopioid form available.
“We need to use every tool in our arsenal if we’re going to beat back this epidemic,” said Hammoud. “That means improving our existing tools as well. In a world where nearly 80% of heroin users start by abusing prescription painkillers, we need to give patients the chance to avoid exposure in the first place.”