Delaware Vote Tracker

SB 84 – Preventing the abuse of Opioid Medication

Sen. Laura Sturgeon has introduced Senate Bill 84, a bill that will help in the fight to keep addictive medications from being abused.  The bill would require hospitals to follow the same reporting rules as long-term care facilities and immediately disclose to the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services when they discover instances in which the delivery of prescribed medication might have been knowingly or intentionally interrupted, obstructed or altered – an act known as medication diversion. Often cases of medication diversion involve narcotics being withheld from patients by personnel who either abuse the drugs or sell them for a profit. 

The bill also would elevate medication diversion in the law and place would place it on par with abuse, neglect, mistreatment, and financial exploitation.  

The bill was developed in cooperation with the Department of Justice’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, which handles enforcement of patient and resident abuse, neglect, mistreatment, financial exploitation, and medication diversion at facilities that accept Medicaid. An average of six medication diversion cases are reported to the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit each year. 

Senate Bill 84 SponsorsYes VotesNo Votes
Sturgeon, Sokola, Townsend
Minor-Brown, Lambert, Baumbach, M.Smith
Current Status – Senate Health & Social Services 3/9/21

“Families from every corner of our state have felt the pain and devastation caused by substance abuse,” said Sturgeon. “Each of us in the General Assembly has a responsibility to do everything we can to address this issue head on. That is why I have been working with Attorney General Kathy Jennings and the Delaware Department of Justice to advance legislation that can save lives.” 

“The addiction epidemic continues to devastate families in all three counties, and it’s incumbent on all of us to leave no stone unturned in the fight to end this carnage,” said Attorney General Kathy Jennings. “I’m grateful to Sen. Sturgeon and her colleagues for their leadership and partnership in this fight and I look forward to working with her to help pass these bills into law.”   

“Medication diversion poses a real threat to vulnerable patients and residents, and yet often goes under-reported, sometimes due to confusing regulations that establish when potential cases should be brought to the attention of authorities,” said Edward Black, acting director of DOJ’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. “Reporting likely cases of medication diversion quickly is essential to our ability to prosecute abuse when necessary and recommend treatment when appropriate. This proposal will streamline those rules and potentially keep more drugs off the street.” 

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