JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Nurses Association (MONA) is actively lobbying for the passage of legislation that would allow Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) to have prescriptive authority with Schedule II medications. Currently, APRNs can prescribe Schedule III-V.
Vicodin, the most commonly prescribed painkiller, was recently reclassified by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as a Schedule II drug (previously Schedule III). MONA says that the bills would “restore APRNs’ ability to prescribe Vicodin in addition to behavioral and mental health medications in order to effectively care for patients.” Schedule II medications also include medications such as Secobarbital and dextroamphetamine (Adderall).
“The DEA’s decision unfortunately limits APRNs’ and physician assistants’ ability to prescribe drugs,” said MONA President Rebecca McClanahan. “In Missouri, seriously ill patients now have to see their APRNs and physicians more often than necessary to receive the medications they depend on. Advanced practice registered nurses, physicians, pharmacists and drug makers were all opposed to the DEA’s decision last year. There are other ways to reduce painkiller abuse that are far more effective and that will not limit access to health care and force patients to jump through unneeded hoops.”
HB720 and SB313 are the originally filed bills to include Schedule II prescriptive authority. HB720 is yet to make it to the House floor, while SB313 has been placed on the Senate informal calendar. However, HB720’s sponsor, Rep. Craig Redmon, R-Canton, has prosed an amendment on SB380, which reached the House floor today, making the change in a related law. The House Third Read and passed the bill with several amendments.
Nurses are encouraging legislators to vote yes on the bills, assuming they reach the floor in the remaining days, allowing increased access to care for consumers, especially in rural and urban underserved areas. Nurses contend delays in care not only hurt consumers, but place added stress on family caregivers, who are all too often overwhelmed with bearing the brunt of providing and overseeing the care of a loved one.
“Adding Schedule II drugs to the list of medications APRNs can prescribe will eliminate barriers and improve the lives of Missourians dealing with acute pain.” said McClanahan.