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The Latest: Bill restricts opioid drugs, boost recovery

March 2, 2017

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The Latest on legislation filed in the North Carolina General Assembly designed to address the state’s opioid abuse problem (all times local):

11:25 a.m.

Supporters of legislation designed to address North Carolina’s opioid abuse crisis say more restrictions on prescriptions and more spending on treatment will help reduce the number of families torn apart and devastated by addiction.

The proposal unveiled Thursday by Republican lawmakers and Democratic Attorney General Josh Stein would place more mandates upon medical providers before prescribing anti-pain drugs like OxyContin or morphine. These drugs come with a high risk of addiction and can be a gateway to heroin use.

Nearly 250 heroin-related deaths were reported in North Carolina in 2014. The measure would set aside $20 million over two years for more community-based addiction treatment and recovery services.

Stein says the bill is a good first step toward saving lives.

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3 a.m.

Republican lawmakers and North Carolina’s new Democratic attorney general are getting behind a plan to address the state’s opioid abuse problem.

Attorney General Josh Stein and the legislators scheduled a Legislative Building news conference Thursday to unveil their proposal. The legislation is expected to focus on improved rules to prescribe and dispense opioid drugs like OxyContin and funds for treating opioid abusers and helping them get clean.

The legislature passed a law in 2016 that creates a statewide standing order at all pharmacies for access to a prescription drug that can reverse overdoses of heroin, OxyContin or other opium-based drugs.

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