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  • Summary date: Apr 8 2019 - View Summary

    Part I repeals GS 90-101(a1), which required physicians who prescribe buprenorphine to annually register with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

    Part II

    Amends GS 90-113.22 and GS 90-113.22A, concerning the possession of paraphernalia and marijuana paraphernalia, explicitly providing that (1) it is not unlawful for a person who introduces a controlled substance into his or her body or intends to do so, to knowingly use or to possess with the intent to use testing equipment for identifying or analyzing the strength, effectiveness, or purity of the controlled substance or (2) a governmental or nongovernmental organization that promotes scientifically proven ways of mitigating health risks associated with drug use and other high-risk behaviors to possess such testing equipment or distribute such testing equipment to a person who intends to introduce a controlled substance into his or her body. 

    Part III

    Amends GS 90-113.27, adding to the objectives of authorized needle and hypodermic syringe exchange programs, the goal to reduce the number of drug overdoses in the State. Eliminates the prohibition against the use of State funds to purchase needles, hypodermic syringes, or other injection supplies.

    Part IV

    Amends GS 90-113.72 to define benzodiazepine. Amends GS 90-113.74C, adding prescriptions of benzodiazepine to those which a practitioner is required to review information in the controlled substances reporting system pertaining to the patient prior to initially prescribing the substance, and must review in subsequent three-month increments to determine that the substance should remain a part of the patient's medical care. Also allows the practitioner to review the information in the controlled substances reporting system prior to prescribing a benzodiazepine if the substance is to be administered in a health care setting, hospital, nursing home, outpatient dialysis facility, or residential care facility; the substance is prescribed for the treatment of cancer or associated condition; or the substance is prescribed to a patient in hospice or palliative care.

    Provides that the above provisions are effective 30 days after the date the State Chief Information Officer notifies the Revisor of Statutes that the upgrades to the Controlled Substances Reporting System database have been completed and the upgraded database is fully operational and connected to the statewide health information exchange.

    Amends GS 90-113.73, regarding reporting of prescriptions for all Schedule II through V substances, to now also include prescriptions for gabapentin and naloxone hydrochloride in the reporting requirements, as previously specified.  Effective January 1, 2020.

    Part V 

    Amends GS 122C-3, as amended, to add the defined terms opioid treatment program, Opioid Treatment Program Central Registry, and State Opioid Treatment Authority.

    Enacts Article 2A, State Opioid Treatment Authority, to GS Chapter 122C, to require prospective opioid treatment programs to apply for and obtain approval by the State Opioid Treatment Authority (SOTA) prior to seeking licensure by DHHS. Defines opioid treatment program under the Chapter to mean a program or practitioner with a current and valid registration under specified federal law that is engaged in dispensing opioid agonist medication for the treatment of individuals with opioid use disorders. Defines SOTA under the Chapter to mean the section of the Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services that exercises the responsibility and authority within the State for governing the treatment of opioid use disorder with an opioid drug. Details eight criteria SOTA is to consider along with any rules adopted by the Commission for Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services (Commission) in reviewing applications by prospective opioid treatment programs, including capacity of state and federal law compliant treatment, prior experience, and history of professional discipline of persons proposed to be employed by the applicant's proposed program or of the proposed sponsor of the program. Provides for contesting the denial of an application as a contested case under Article 3 of GS Chapter 150B, requiring the petition to be filed within 20 day after the date SOTA mailed the notice of denial. Directs the Commission to adopt and amend rules to establish standards for SOTA's review, approval or denial of prospective opioid treatment programs, and the licensure and operation of SOTA-approved opioid treatment programs, which address nine specified factors, including minimum requirements for staffing positions, staffing ratios, and staff training; minimum operating hours; counseling requirements; and SOTA site visits. Exempts rule making under this statute from the requirements of GS 150B-21.4 (which requires a fiscal and regulatory impact analysis of proposed rules). 

    Establishes the State Opioid Treatment Authority Fund (SOTA Fund) as an interest-bearing special revenue fund administered by DHHS, with restricted use only for the offset of the cost of operating the Opioid Treatment Program Central Registry (Registry), and only supplemental to existing state and local funding available. Provides that the SOTA Fund is to consist of fees collected for the Registry, legislative appropriations, and money received from the state, federal, private, or other sources for deposit into the SOTA Fund. Provides that interest earned is to be credited to the SOTA Fund, and that any balance does not revert but instead remains in the SOTA Fund at the end of any fiscal year. Effective July 1, 2019.

    Directs SOTA to require mandatory participation of all opioid treatment programs in the Registry. Requires the programs to submit data to the Registry as directed by SOTA. Beginning January 1, 2020, directs DHHS to charge each program an annual fee of $1,600 for participation in the Registry, with 100% of the fee credited to the SOTA Fund. Provides for increasing the fee. Provides that the fee is due within seven days after the program is granted final certification by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to begin operation. Requires DHHS to prorate the amount on a calendar year basis during the first year of participation.

    Directs the Commission to amend or adopt its rules as prescribed in GS 122C-50.1, as amended by the act, by May 1, 2020.