The Lamar County Chamber of Commerce, along with the Lamar County Leadership Class and the Northeast Texas Regional Alliance, made their way to Austin, Texas, today for Lamar County Days.
The group plans to meet with area legislators and a number of speakers throughout the next two days to develop relationships and learn more on how they can market their communities.
Dan Finch, the Director of the Texas Medical Association, addressed the crowd on the subject of the ongoing issue with opioid abuse in Texas.
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“First, let me say if we think we don’t have a problem in Texas, we are very much mistaken,” he said. “We have a problem – and a big one.”
In 2013, the rate of opioid prescriptions for a community with a population of 100,000 was 70 prescriptions per 100 people. In 2017 the rate has fallen by 20-25 percent.
“In the interim legislation of 2018 a lot was being done, but there is more work to do and in this session, we are hoping to see several bills passed into law” stated Finch.
A few of those bills include:
- An increase in doctor monitoring;
- Length of prescribed time;
- All prescriptions will be electronic to create a paper trail and no forgery; and
- Integrated electronic system so that pharmacies can monitor from the state of Texas and surrounding states.
Finch went on to say, “You may not know this, but 68 percent of people’s first exposure to opioids is by raiding someone else’s stash – whether in their home or at the office. This is a very complex issue and what we don’t want to do is drive people to the open market for harder drugs for pain such as heroin or fentanyl. This is a constant and very important issue.”
Tell us what you think. How should this be handled?