Opioid Law Signed

Last week, H.R. 6, the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and Communities Act (SUPPORT) was signed into law. The Act includes a section which amends the Controlled Substances Act and allows a hospice employee to handle lawfully dispensed controlled substances of deceased hospice patients to assist with disposal of the controlled substances, so long as the disposal occurs onsite in accordance with applicable law. 

Prior to this amendment to the Controlled Substance Act, hospice personnel were only permitted to instruct family members in proper disposal of controlled substances and were prohibited from handling the substances and/or assisting in the disposal. The law specifies that the disposal occurs onsite, meaning at the place of death, and that it is in accordance with any state or local laws.

Agencies should keep in mind that this law is specific for disposal of controlled substances at time of death and does not include disposal of discontinued controlled substances on live patients. Educating clinicians and implementing the revised practice changes as soon as possible will help decrease the opioid diversion and misuse across America.

VNAA and ElevatingHOME, in conjunction with allies across the aging and health care spectrum, honed legislative concepts offered by Congress to stem the tide of diverted and misused opioids while focusing on ease, safety and implementation concerns for clinicians. Further, VNAA and ElevatingHOME, represented by Dr. Danielle Pierotti, served on the National Quality Forum’s Opioid Stewardship Committee. The resulting study can be found here.

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