FAQs: HB 1085 – Prevention of Substance Use Disorders

FAQs: HB 1085 – Prevention of Substance Use Disorders

Here at CVMA, we’re dedicated to working on behalf of veterinary professionals in Colorado to protect and advance the practice of veterinary medicine. Part of that important mission is  translating current bills in the Colorado State Legislature to help veterinarians understand how legislation might impact veterinary medicine or animal welfare in Colorado. Check out our FAQs below on CO HB20-1085 – Prevention of Substance Use Disorders.

FAQs: CO HB20 1085 – Prevention of Substance Use Disorders

What is the background on this bill?

This bill was introduced in the Colorado State Legislature on January 10, 2020. At a high level, the intent of the bill is to help prevent substance use orders.

How would this legislation impact me as a veterinarian?

If passed, this bill would require veterinarians to check the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) when benzodiazepine scripts are written if the veterinarian has a reasonable basis to suspect the client has committed drug abuse or has mistreated an animal.

What is CVMA’s position on this bill?

CVMA supports HB20-1085, Prevention of Substance Use Disorders.

Veterinarians are acutely aware and gravely concerned about the U.S. substance use epidemic. Colorado law already gives veterinarians access to the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) to query a client “if the veterinarian, in the exercise of professional judgement, has reasonable basis to suspect the client has committed drug abuse or mistreated an animal.” The proposed bill makes permanent previously-established restrictions on opioid prescribing, and allows veterinarians to query the PDMP for benzodiazepines and other drugs that may be subject to a PDMP query. All benzodiazepines are listed as DEA schedule IV controlled substances, meaning they have the potential for abuse, addiction, and diversion. Combined with opioids, benzodiazepines can depress respiration, causing coma or death. An estimated 30% of opioid-related deaths involve benzodiazepines. The amount of opioids and other scheduled drugs veterinarians prescribe is quite small compared to the amount of similar drugs prescribed for humans in the U.S. However, animals’ metabolism is faster than that of humans, and therefore higher dosages are required to treat animals effectively. We know this can make a pet’s drugs appealing for diversion.

CVMA appreciates the intent of the proposed bill and wishes to be an active partner in effective strategies to address substance use disorders.

How is CVMA working at the state capitol regarding this bill?

CVMA plans to have representation at hearings on this bill.

Where can I go to get status updates on where the bill is currently in the legislative process?

Visit the CVMA bill tracker to see more details on this bill, including the full text, current status, and associated documents.

How can I get involved with CVMA’s legislative and advocacy efforts?

CVMA is always looking for members who want to get involved with helping craft CVMA’s position on bills and testify on behalf of CVMA at the legislature. Email CVMA CEO Diane Matt (dianematt@colovma.org) to find out how you can help.



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