Opioids to be a Focus of California Legislature in 2018

Jan. 28, 2018
By Brett Johnson

While several opioid-related bills were introduced last year in California’s legislature, many in Sacramento anticipate a double-digit number of opioid-related bills to be introduced this year. The increasing volume of legislation, as is common in politics, corresponds with the growing media attention paid to the worsening opioid addiction and abuse crisis, which includes that of illicit fentanyl and heroine in addition to prescription opioids, occurring across much of the country.

Last year, bills largely focused on education, prevention, and treatments programs, as well as the funding for such programs. For instance, Assembly Bill 182 (Waldron) would have directed the state to consult with stakeholders to develop and implement a comprehensive, statewide public education program on the dangers of opioids, among other things, and AB 1512 (McCarty) would have taxed various entities in the prescription drug supply chain to fund addiction prevention and rehabilitation programs. There were, however, much more prescriptive bills earlier in the year, such as Senate Bill 419 (Portantino), which would have prohibited prescribing oxycodone to any patient under 21 years of age. Despite this attention on opioid issues, none of the aforementioned bills reached the Governor’s desk.

This year, while only a handful of opioid-related bills have thus far been introduced, discussions on forthcoming opioid legislation can be heard throughout the Capitol – with numerous legislators considering authoring or co-authoring such legislation. The bills introduced thus far, all by Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Cupertino), deal with restricting prescription pad production and adding Schedule V to the drugs for which prescribers in California must record and assess prescriptions in a state database, as well as ensuring this database can interact with other states’ databases.

The bill introduction deadline this year is Feb. 16, though bills may still be substantially amended after that date. CLSA will be determining policy positions on all newly introduced legislation, including that related to opioids, shortly thereafter. Any members who would like further information on the bills discussed here or anything else happening in Sacramento are encouraged to reach out to Oliver Rocroi ( or Brett Johnson (