U.S. Rep. Greg Stanton (D-AZ) reintroduce legislation Thursday that would require prescription painkillers that are addictive to have warning labels.
The bill, Lessening Addiction by Enhancing Labeling (LABEL) Opioids Act, was first introduced in 2019.
“Responsible, common-sense labeling practices are an important step toward educating patients about the risks of opioid misuse. Too many fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters are prescribed what seem like safe prescription painkillers, and instead of getting on the road to recovery, they are put on a path to addiction,” Stanton said. “As we continue to fight the global coronavirus pandemic, we have to remain vigilant and fight the public health crisis caused by over-prescribed opioids that has affected far too many Arizona families.”
Stanton’s office said between June 2017 and February 2021, Arizona saw more than 61,200 suspected opioid overdoses, 8,482 of which resulted in deaths. In January 2021, 136,720 opioid prescriptions were dispensed to Arizonans.
The LABEL Act would amend the Controlled Substance Act to require opioid prescriptions to be labeled with a clear and concise warning that the drug may cause dependence, addiction, or overdose, similar to labeling cigarette packaging.
The labeling requirement would apply to any opioid or opiate listed in the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Schedule II, III, IV, or V, with the exception of drugs used to treat addiction or an opioid use disorder.
When previously introduced, the bill had the support of several medical organizations, including the American Public Health Association, Community Antidrug Coalitions of American, National Association of County and City Health Officials, National Safety Council, Trust for America’s Health, and Mass Medical Society.