Senate unanimously passes bill to crack down on opioid abuse

Opioid Epidemic

RALEIGH - Legislation aimed at reducing opioid abuse and overdoses has passed the North Carolina Senate with unanimous bipartisan support.

The measure approved Wednesday changes how drugs such as OxyContin and morphine are prescribed and dispensed. The painkillers come with a high risk of addiction and can be a gateway to heroin use. The bill requires electronic prescriptions for controlled substances and generally limits doctors to five- and seven-day supplies when first prescribing the potent drugs for pain or after operations. It would also strengthen the controlled substances reporting system, which tracks prescriptions for the drugs. Bill sponsors say the legislation is a culmination of work that went into addressing the state's opioid crisis. It now returns to the House for another vote.