Ministry amendment control potential deadly opioid prescription endorsed


The Health Ministry in Jerusalem recognized on Tuesday that opioids have, at times, been too loosely prescribed by Israeli physicians. The drugs, which include medications like oxycodone (OxyContin), hydrocodone (Vicodin), morphine, fentanyl, and methadone were dispensed in the past by doctors in the US.

The ministry earlier this week proposed an amendment to the Dangerous Drugs Regulations Law, which seeks to limit the supply of opioids to the general public. Both the ministry and the association have now recognized the phenomenon of their misuse.

The chairman of the professional committee of the Pharmacy Association in Israel, Dr. Yossi Lomnicky, said: “Our organization considers the fight against the unwise use of opioids to be of the utmost importance. We have been working with the ministry and the Knesset Anti-Drug Committee to establish a central system that will receive reports on all drug dispensing in Israel in all pharmacies. This will make it possible to locate heavy opioid users and take action.”

Committee’s conclusions?

He urged the ministry to publish the conclusions of the committee it appointed a few years ago to reduce the use of opioids and addiction to them. The ministry’s proposed amendment will, upon passage, ensure that such drugs will be issued only if they are based on digital prescriptions that cannot be falsified. The organization also welcomes the step of limiting the daily doses of fentanyl and buprenorphine (an opioid partial agonist that produces effects such as euphoria or respiratory depression at low to moderate doses; its effects are weaker than that of full opioid agonists such as methadone and heroin).

Illustrative graph showing the rising opioid use in Israel compared to the US. (credit: NADAV DAVIDOVITCH, YANNAI KRANZLER, OREN MIRON/TAUB CENTER)

“We recommend increasing the enforcement activity of the pharmaceutical crime unit to prevent the distribution of medical drugs in the non-medical market, he said. We consider the fight against the unwise use of opioids to be of the utmost importance,” he concluded. 

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