Bipartisan opioid legislation becomes law

In an effort to combat the national opioid crisis hitting Iowa, a bill relating to opioid abuse was signed into law this month.

With opioid related overdose deaths reaching all time high this year, the bill expands the Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP), which allows authorized prescribers and pharmacists to view information about their patients? use of controlled substances. This is a tool used in determining appropriate prescribing and treatment of patients without fear of contributing to a patient?s abuse of or dependence on addictive drugs or diversion to illegal drugs.

The bill, House File 2377, also mandates that prescribing practitioners and first responders utilize the PMP. Practitioners are to use the PMP when they prescribe controlled substances and first responders when they administer opioid antagonists, like naloxone, to patients.

It also directs the Board of Pharmacy to issue a report to each prescribing practitioner that includes a summary of the practitioner?s history of prescribing controlled substances; a comparison to other practitioner?s prescribing activities, and educational updates. The Board will also identify patients who are at risk for potentially abusing or misusing prescription controlled substances and notifying the practitioners of the risk.

Finally, the bill includes Good Samaritan language that provides certain protections to those who seek treatment for a drug-related overdose or a person who seeks treatment for another person who is experiencing a drug-related overdose. This provision gives these individuals certain protections against being prosecuted or arrested, with some exceptions.

This bill will go into effect on July 1, 2018.


State Treasurer?s College Savings Iowa Scholarship

In an effort to encourage more families and individuals to start saving for college, state officials are reminding Iowans to sign up for College Savings Iowa.

Often called a 529-College Savings Plan, Iowans can start saving with a minimum investment of $25. These accounts are tax-deferred, and participants are able to put in up to $3,319 per account per year.

529-College Savings Day will be celebrated on May 29th. During the month of May Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald is encouraging people to go to the College Savings Iowa website at https://www.collegesavingsiowa.com to learn more. If you watch a three-minute video, you will be automatically enrolled for a drawing to win a $529 scholarship.

The 529-College Savings Plan offers families a tax-advantaged way to save money for their children?s higher education. This money does not need to be used at Iowa schools, but can be used at any eligible educational institution in the United States including technical, vocational, and graduate schools.

It can even be used at schools abroad. Finally, an account can be transferred from one eligible family member to another if the original beneficiary chooses not to attend college.


? Phil Miller serves District 82 in the Iowa House of Representatives. The district includes all of Davis and Van Buren counties, and most of Jefferson County. He can be reached at 641-472-2511, or at phil.miller@legis.iowa.gov.