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Senators Pass Opioid And Cannabinoid Bills


The proper use of drugs was at the heart of two bills advanced by Utah senators. Lawmakers had held up both bills until Tuesday to make sure there was money to fund the programs.

One bill, HB175, would beef up training for medical professionals who write prescriptions for opioids. Legislative budget makers estimate it would cost about $174,000 over three years to offer a national training program aimed at screening for patients who are susceptible to opioid abuse.

“What this does is it will bring our current physicians up in this type of evidence-based referral and treatment,” said Sen. Brian Shiazowa, a Cottonwood Heights Republican who is a doctor.

That bill won final passage and is headed to the governor’s desk.

A second bill, HB 130, would allow what’s called an “institutional review board,” or IRB, to oversee human research on the use of cannabinoids. Republican Sen. Evan Vickers, a Cedar City pharmacist, referred to standards set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

“This would follow a pattern that would be considered traditional, rigorous medical research similar to what the FDA would require,” he said. “In fact, FDA guidelines are involved in this type of a process.”

The cost to have the board oversee the research is estimated at more than $46,000 over three years. The bill passed the Senate and returns to the House for final approval.

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