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Gov. Pence Signs 7 Drug-Related Bills Into Law

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Indiana will make it easier to get one drug over the counter and harder to get some others, as it tries to get the upper hand against drug abuse.

Gov. Mike Pence has signed seven drug bills into law, including a measure creating a standing prescription at all pharmacies for Narcan, a drug which can quickly reverse a heroin overdose.

State Police Superintendent Doug Carter says in Marion County alone, officers have revived 200 patients with Narcan so far this year.

One bill gives pharmacists discretion to deny the sale of cold remedies containing pseudoephedrine, unless a customer already has a prescription for other medication at that drugstore.

If a customer doesn’t, the pharmacist can offer you tamper-resistant medication instead, sell you a single box, or insist on a prescription.

Pence says the bill restricting access to Sudafed, a main ingredient in the production of methamphetamine, strikes the right balance.

“I think it was a real common sense solution that took into account the interests of parents and law-abiding citizens to be able to have access to pseudoephedrine and at the same time, creating new barriers for individuals that may be using those materials to create meth,” Pence says.

Another bill requires Medicaid to cover drug treatment expenses. State Health Commissioner Jerome Adams says requiring Medicaid to cover addiction treatment removes not only a financial barrier, but a psychological one.

“Stigma’s one of the things we’ve heard about continually and stigma comes from many different places,” Adams says. “As a youngster, you feel that you can’t come forward about your problems and it all goes the way through to, again, insurers saying, ‘We’re not going to pay for that because it’s your own fault.’ So, every place we can tackle stigma, we’re going to.”

Other bills ban the sale of Sudafed to convicted felons, and require prison time for meth or heroin dealers who have a previous drug conviction.

The new rules take effect July 1, though a few planning provisions become law immediately.