Gov. Kim Reynolds signed House File 2377 on Monday, a bipartisan piece of legislation she says represents a significant step forward in Iowa’s efforts to address the opioid epidemic. The governor signed the bill in front of overdose victims’ families, law enforcement, state and local officials and others at Mercy Medical Center in Dubuque.
“Opioid-related deaths have more than doubled over the past decade,” Gov. Reynolds said. “And like I said in my Condition of the State address, this will not end until we take action. With this legislation, we are taking the first step to reverse this heart-wrenching trend.”
An important step in addressing the opioid epidemic is reducing the number of opioids prescribed in Iowa. House File 2377 helps prevent doctor shopping and over-prescribing by:
- requiring all prescribers to register for and use the prescription monitoring program;
- allowing for proactive notification to recognize patients at high risk for abuse and addiction;
- requiring electronic prescribing in order to eliminate the risk of fraud; and
- allowing licensing boards to assess penalties for providers who overprescribe.
House File 2377 also takes a compassionate approach to ensure those who need immediate help with an overdose receive it by providing for immunity from criminal liability for those who call 911 to seek care for someone who has overdosed on drugs.
The opioid bill passed the Iowa Senate on April 30, 48-0 and the Iowa House on May 2, 95-0.