CONCORD — The State Senate approved legislation requiring that opioids a pharmacist legally dispenses must contain a warning label the drug carries of risk of “addiction and overdose.”
State Sen. Tom Sherman, D-Rye and a licensed gastroenterologist, convinced his colleagues to make the labeling mandatory after a Senate panel had unanimously recommended it be voluntary.
Sherman said pharmacies could attach these labels already and some chains such as Rite-Aid have but most do not and it’s time to require them.
“We put things that are dangerous away, not in a sock drawer but in a safe,” said Sherman who said he was moved to push the mandate after the parents of a teen who died of the overdose implored him to pursue it.
Sen. Jeb Bradley, R-Wolfeboro, said the label could become a “road map” for those seeking to steal opioids from drug stores to sell them on the black market.
But Sen. Harold French, R-Franklin, urged his peers to take this step, noting his daughter in her teens had once overdosed on prescription painkillers because he didn’t know of the risks to her and put them in the medicine cabinet.
“I didn’t know what it was. I go up and check on her; she had taken them all, she was over it now,” French said, his voice cracking with emotion.
“She has three wonderful children, she’s a wonderful girl...Pass this bill, help people out.”
After an amendment for the mandate passed, it cleared the Senate, 22-1.
The measure heads back to the House as the Senate changes (HB 359) exempted from this mandate any opioids pharmacists dispense to patients in a hospital and it also permits any patient to remove the warning label.