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Gov. Jerry Brown Vetoes Bill Allowing for State Task Force on Opioid Prescriptions

California Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a bill that sought to bring down opioid addiction rates in the state by creating a task force that would establish best practices on prescribing those types of drugs.

Brown called the bill “unnecessary,” claiming that the state’s public health department established a state agency dedicated to opioid addiction in 2014 even though he said opioid abuse is a “national epidemic” that affects many Californians, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Assembly Bill 715, sponsored by Assemblyman Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg), would have allowed the California Department of Public Health to create a group of doctors, opioid addiction specialists, and other public health experts who would study how doctors are prescribing painkillers.

His bill also called for a task force that would use peer-reviewed research on the effectiveness of non-narcotic local anesthetics to treat pain instead of opioids and statewide guidelines for doctors to provide alternatives to the drugs.

The workgroup that is in place promoted multiple public health campaigns, created a similar task force, got funding from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and sent a letter to health care providers briefing them on how to prescribe opioids and medication to treat opioid addiction.

The group provided doctors with a lot of resources about treating, monitoring, informing patients of the risks of opioid addiction but did not focus too much on how doctors can prescribe non-opioid alternatives to manage pain.

Even though the workgroup was established in 2014, the opioid crisis in California has not gone away.

Orange County has struggled to deal with its opioid problem despite an influx of state money thrown at the problem in the county and Plumas County in rural Northern California has noticed an increase in prescription-related opioid deaths in August 2017.

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