Massachusetts Chapter
International Nurses Society on Addictions Inc.
PO Box 2162 Hanover MA 02339
Phone Number: 1 (617) 414-7453
New Legislation:
Good Samaritan; Prescription Monitoring Program

The Good Samaritan bill was passed this summer. Massachusetts joins New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, Washington, and Illinois in

1. Protecting both witnesses and overdose victims from being charged or prosecuted for possession of a controlled substance when calling 911 during an overdose. (Protection excludes a warrant or the presence of significant drug distribution.)

2. Providing legal protection for the prescribing of Naloxone (an opioid overdose reversal agent, also known as Narcan) to those (such as family members) who possess and/or administer Naloxone to someone having an opioid overdose.

Governor Patrick also passed a Prescription Monitoring Bill that allows prescribers to access a patient's prescription history for the past 12 months to curtail the practice of "doctor shopping," in which patients addicted to prescription medications or those who plan to sell prescription medication hop from doctor to doctor for various prescriptions. Currently, physician participation in the PMP is voluntary, but the bill requires mandatory participation for doctors who prescribe controlled substances. Physicians will be automatically enrolled when they renew their medical licenses. An earlier version of the bill was going to require physicians to consult the PMP when prescribing painkillers to any patient for the first time, but the newer version of the bill that passed requires them to consult the PMP when prescribing painkillers to new patients.

The bill also requires pharmacies to distribute information on the risks of addiction to prescription painkillers. Prescriptions for controlled substances have to be written by doctors on “secure,” tamper-proof prescription pads. In addition, pharmacies and drug manufacturers are required to report drug thefts to local or state police, as well as the Drug Enforcement Agency.