2016 Legislation

Overdose Prevention

House Bill 114 – Rep. Ray Ward

Our View: This bill improves the reporting requirements for reporting prescription drug overdoses. Without proper reporting and data sharing it is nearly impossible to quantify the prescription drug overdose epidemic in real terms.

House Bill 149 – Rep. Brad Daw

Our View: Although in a similar vein as HB114 this legislation addresses the prescription of medications at the source. By requiring that DOPL notify a physician when a patient’s death is related to prescription overdose, it will allow for physicians to better control their prescription of medications.

House Bill 150 – Rep. Brad Daw

Our View: Creating a social support network is key in reducing deaths caused by overdose. This legislation provides public policy support for this principle by allowing a third person to receive notification at the time a prescription is written for medication. Loved ones are key to preventing overdoses in those most at-risk.

House Bill 192 – Rep. Mike McKell

Our View: This legislation allows for the development of an Opiate Outreach Pilot Program within the Department of Health that will allow for direct outreach to those at-risk of opiate overdose. By allocating $500,000 to direct outreach, this program will allow for the development of best practices in different communities throughout the state.

House Bill 236 – Rep. Gage Froerer

Our View: This legislation attacks one of the chief issues at the heart of the overdose epidemic – ease of access. By allowing designated pharmacies to accept and dispense donated, unused prescription medications this legislation would reduce the supply of unused prescriptions thus reducing opportunistic prescription drug abuse.

House Bill 238 – Rep. Spackman Moss

Our View: This legislation allows for more direct intervention in real time during an overdose by allowing providers to distribute opioid antagonists such as Naloxone and Naltrexone without fear of repercussion. These antagonists save countless lives by allowing for overdoses to be stopped. 

House Bill 239 – Rep. Mike McKell

Our View: This legislation allows for a physician or provider to access the opioid database to receive information about opioid prescriptions. In doing so, the physician gains valuable insight and can combat prescription drug abuse. By requiring a periodical audit of the use of information, abuse of the personal data within the database is mitigated however we would like to see an amendment offered to require annual or biannual auditing.

House Bill 240 – Rep. Steve Eliason

Our View: While not as robust or comprehensive of a system for the distribution of opioid antagonists as HB238 this bill would also allow for the creation of a distribution method of life saving medications such as Naloxone and Naltrexone.

House Concurrent Resolution 4 – Rep. Spackman Moss

Our View: Declaring drug overdose deaths as a public health emergency raises public awareness of the issue and provides public policy initiatives with needed momentum. 

Medical Cannabis

House Bill 58 - Rep. Gage Froerer

Our View: This legislation would reauthorize Utah's CBD only program for children with epilepsy. This program was Utah's first explicit embrace of the medicinal properties of medical cannabis. The program is widely viewed as having been a success and deserves reauthorization.

House Concurrent Resolution 3 - Rep. Brad Daw

Our View: This resolution tackles one of the most pressing issues facing the medical cannabis - federal prohibitions on medical research. This resolution urges the federal government to take steps to allow for more research into the medical benefits of cannabis including reducing unnecessary burdens to medical cannabis research.

Senate Bill 73 - Sen. Mark Madsen

Our View: This legislation would establish a comprehensive medical cannabis program in the State of Utah that would provide relief for many thousands of Utahns. This legislation is based largely on the successes of other states and would represent a remarkable step forward for the State of Utah. 

Senate Bill 89 - Sen. Evan Vickers

Our View: This legislation is a significantly more modest approach to the establishment of a medical cannabis program in the State of Utah. The regulatory and financial processes developed by this bill mean it would be a significant step forward in creating the framework for a robust medical cannabis program to be established at a later date. 

Senate Concurrent Resolution 11 - Sen. Brian Shiozawa

Our View: This resolution tackles one of the most pressing issues facing the State of Utah - draconian drug laws. This law urges Congress to reschedule cannabis to allow for more research and study its medicinal effects. Without a change in federal policy, state policy changes will inherently suffer.

Drug Policy Reform

House Bill 172 - Rep. Angela Romero

Our View: This legislation amends and fixes one of the most damaging legacies of draconian drug policies by reforming discriminatory policies that subject low-income Utahns to unnecessary drug testing in order to qualify for public assistance through Utah's Family Employment Program. This legislation does not repeal drug testing, rather drug testing is triggered after a parent is found eligible for TANF assistance. The SASSI screening will be taken under the supervision of an employment counselor; those who score a high probability of substance abuse will then be assigned to a licensed clinical social worker, who will determine if drug testing is needed. Those testing positive will be required to undergo drug treatment and be subject to periodic testing to remain eligible.

Harm Reduction

House Bill 308 - Rep. Steve Eliason

Our View: This legislation allows for the operation of clean needle exchanges in the State of Utah. In doing so it accomplishes one of the key principles of harm reduction. Without this policy, injection drug users remain at risk of blood borne diseases. With this policy, we will be working with our community partners to create clean needle exchange programs in each county in the state.