A proposed law headed to Gov. Henry McMaster will not allow doctors to prescribe opioid-related medication to teens without a parent’s signature.
The new law is part of a package of bills lawmakers passed this year in response to the worsening opioid overdose crisis. The state Department of Health and Environmental Control says opioid overdoses caused 616 deaths across South Carolina in 2016. Almost 90 percent of those overdoses were from prescription drugs, according to the agency.
Act 242 requires doctors to get written consent from the parents or guardians of those under 18 before prescribing. It also requires they inform both patient and adult about the potential for addiction and danger of taking the opioids with other medication or alcohol.
“A lot of kids become addicted to opioids because they had an injury playing a sport or because they had a tooth pulled,” State Rep. Phyllis Henderson, R-Greenville said. “It’s just all part of increasing awareness of alternatives to opioids for pain.”
The law would allow some exemptions, such as in the case of a medical emergency, surgery or to treat cancer-related pain or sickle cell anemia. The bill passed unanimously after those exemptions were hammered out between the House and Senate.
Henderson the act is one of roughly a dozen bills passed this year to deal with opioids. She was a member of a House study committee which proposed most of those bills late last year.