The state of Michigan is attempting to fight the opioid epidemic by redefining a medicine used for the treatment of nerve pain and seizures.

The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs announced on Wednesday that they would be categorizing the drug Gabapentin as a Schedule 5 controlled substance. The drug, more commonly known under the brand name Neurontin, does have many legitimate uses, but it can be abused recreationally and LARA says it can have potentially harmful effects when combined with opioids; however, it is not an opioid itself.

With the move, Michigan joins several other states in scheduling Gabapentin as a controlled substance.

LARA has also made rule changes to help improve the training that drug prescribers and dispensers receive; these new rules "require an individual seeking a controlled substance license to complete a training in opioids and controlled substances awareness that addresses: integration of treatments, alternative pain management treatments, counseling patients on the effects and risks associated with using controlled substances, stigma of addiction, proper disposal requirements for prescriptions, utilizing the Michigan Automated Prescription System (MAPS), and state and federal controlled substance dispensing laws."

LARA Director Orlene Hawks says of the changes that they "will continue to assist our efforts to curtail the opioid epidemic in Michigan while enhancing awareness about opioid addiction.”


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