LANSING, Mich. - Lt. Gov. Brian Calley has announced on Tuesday that health care providers will need to make changes to their process when prescribing opioids to patients.

Starting June 1, doctors will be required by law to talk to patients about the risks of taking opioids before writing the initial prescription for the drugs.

This new law will also require patients to sign a consent form after learning about the risks. The legislative package was signed by Calley in December 2017.

“The opioid epidemic is sweeping our nation and preventing addiction from occurring in the first place is an essential step to saving lives,” Calley said. “It’s critical that people understand the risks associated with opioids before taking them and this new law ensures that education happens before a prescription is written.”

“Although sometimes medically necessary, opioids are a controlled substance and can be highly addictive,” said Dr. Eden Wells, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Chief Medical Executive.

“This law is an effort to ensure patients know the risks associated with the prescription they are about to receive and make an educated decision about their health care.”

Before being prescribed any controlled substance, health care providers will need to provide information on:

  • The risks of addiction and overdose associated with opioids.
  • That individuals with mental illness and substance use disorders may have an increased risk of addiction to a controlled substance. (Required only for minors.)
  • That mixing opioids with benzodiazepines, alcohol, muscle relaxers or other drugs that suppress the central nervous systems can cause serious health risks, including death or disability. (Required only for minors.)
  • The short- and long-term effects of exposing a fetus to a controlled substance if the patient is pregnant or is a female of reproductive age.
  • That delivery of a controlled substance is a felony under Michigan law.
  • How to properly dispose of an expired, unused or unwanted controlled substance.

If a patient is under the age of 18, a parent or guardian will need to fill out additional paperwork provided by the state confirming they are included in the patient's medial records and have been fully informed on the risks as well.

According to Lt. Gov. Calley's office, the state is using every available tool to combat Michigan's opioid epidemic and says it's a collaborative effort of state agencies and health professionals in order to educate the community and prevent over-prescribers.

For more information about opioids, the state's epidemic and what officials are doing to prevent it, visit www.michigan.gov/stopoverdoses.

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April Stevens is a multi-platform producer at WZZM 13. Have a news tip? Email news@wzzm13.com, visit our Facebook page or Twitter.