On January 26, 2018, the Governor signed SB1001, knows as the "2018 Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act." The new requirements related to veterinarians became effective on April 26, 2018.
Main new requirements summarized (we suggest you read the text of SB1001 for exact language):
1. Requires a veterinarian who reasonably suspects or believes that an individual is attempting to obtain controlled substances for a reason other than to treat an animal to report the suspicion to local law enforcement within 48 hours. It is NOT necessary to report this information to the Board.
2. Requires that the report include specified identifying information and states that veterinary records pertaining to the investigation must be provided to law enforcement upon request.
3. Grants immunity from civil liability to a veterinarian who makes a report in good faith.
4. Requires a veterinarian who dispenses a schedule II drug or a benzodiazepine to comply with all of the following:
a) limits the initial amount of a schedule II controlled substance dispensed by a veterinarian to a 5-day supply at a dosage that is clinically appropriate for the animal being treated. (A prescription that is filled at a pharmacy is not subject to this limit);
b) limits the initial amount of a benzodiazepine dispensed by a veterinarian to a 14-day supply at a dosage that is clinically appropriate for the animal being treated. (A prescription that is filled at a pharmacy is not subject to this limit); and
c) limits dispensing by a veterinarian for an animal with a chronic condition* to one, 30-day supply at a time after the initial prescription limits have been exhausted. (A prescription filled at a pharmacy is not subject to this limit.)
*"chronic condition" for the purposes of this section means a condition that requires ongoing treatment beyond the 5-day or 14-day period noted above, including cancer, post-surgical treatment, post-traumatic injury, neuropathic pain, chronic severe cough, collapsing trachea and congestive heart failure.
5. Specifies that the initial prescriptions that are filled at a pharmacy are not subject to the supply time limitations.
6. Requires health professionals who are authorized to prescribe or dispense schedule II controlled substances AND who have a valid U.S. DEA registration number to complete at least 3 hours of opioid, substance use disorder or addiction-related continuing education each license renewal cycle. (At this time, this requirement is not stated in the Arizona Administrative Code (a.k.a. Administrative Rules) that apply to the Arizona State Veterinary Medical Examining Board. However, this new statute takes precedence, thus, in the renewal cycle ending 12/31/18, licensees should make their best effort to comply with this new requirement. The Board understands licensees may have already completed their 20 required hours and/or may not be able to identify appropriate CE to comply with this new requirement, thus, the Board is unlikely to take disciplinary action if a licensee has not completed the 3 hours of opioid, substance use disorder, addiction-related CE in this cycle. It will be expected in the 2020 renewal cycle.)
Note that these new laws do NOT require veterinarians to participate in the Arizona Pharmacy Board's Prescription Monitoring Program.
The Senate bill SB 1001 (1st Special Session 2018) can be viewed here