A measure arriving in the state Senate on Tuesday will require parents sign their permission before a doctor can prescribe opioid painkillers to patients under age 18.
The bill, which passed the House in a unanimous vote last week, would require parents or guardians sign a consent form before addictive pain medicines such as OxyContin or other analgesics could be prescribed for teens. That consent form mention the dangers of addiction and overdoses.
The requirement was among dozens of recommendations by a House opioids study committee earlier this year. State Rep. Phyllis Henderson, R-Greenville, admitted she did not realize the requirement was not already in place until she served on the panel.
“Let’s say your 15-year-old gets hurt at a basketball game and they go to the doctor,” Henderson said. “If you’re not there, they could give them a full prescription without your consent.”
The bill does allow some exemptions, such as in the case of a medical emergency, surgery or to treat cancer-related pain.
Lawmakers say they are worried about teens potentially becoming addicted to the drug through legitimate medical treatment. Since 2013, South Carolina has seen a dramatic rise in overdoses due to opioid-related medication and illegal drugs. According to the latest information from the Department of Health and Environmental Control, there were 616 opioid-related deaths in South Carolina during 2016. DHEC said nearly 90 percent of those overdose deaths were due to prescription opioids.
The bill will likely be sent to the Senate Medical Affairs committee once it arrives in the chamber.