Comprehensive legislation signed into law today by Gov. Inslee will take action on society’s growing opioid crisis on multiple fronts.

“A public health threat as pervasive as the opioid crisis requires a wide range of solutions,” said Sen. Annette Cleveland (D-Vancouver), the sponsor of Senate Bill 5380. “This legislation addresses everything from prevention and education to treatment and swift responses to overdoses.”

Cleveland, who chairs the Senate Health Care Committee, noted that opioid abuse claimed more than 700 lives in Washington in 2018 and is a leading cause of accidental deaths. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates the total economic burden of prescription opioid misuse alone in the United States at $78.5 billion a year, including the cost of healthcare, lost productivity, addiction treatment, and criminal justice involvement. 

“The opioid epidemic is taking a toll on communities around our state, at tremendous financial cost, but the most terrible cost is to people and families,” she said. “Our communities are reeling from opioid misuse and abuse in too many ways to address with a single solution.”

SB 5380 modifies numerous protocols for using medications to treat opioid use disorder. It:

  • Permits pharmacists to partially fill certain prescriptions upon patient request.
  • Requires prescribers to discuss the risks of opioids with certain patients and provide the patient with the option to refuse an opioid prescription.
  • Establishes new requirements for how electronic health records integrate with the state’s prescription monitoring program and how the data can be used.
  • Requires the Health Care Authority and the Department of Health to partner and work with other state agencies on initiatives that promote a statewide approach in addressing opioid use disorder.
  • Permits the Secretary of Health to issue a standing order for opioid reversal medication and require pharmacists to provide written instructions for dispensing reversal medication for opioid overdoses.
  • Allows hospital emergency departments to dispense opioid overdose reversal medication when a patient is at risk of opioid overdose.