Tuesday, May 10, 2016

WV Opioid Law: Jessie's Law

Many of you may not be aware of what is called Jessie's Law here in West Virginia. I wasn't aware either. I accidentally stumbled on it when I entered something in the key word of Google.

In October or Sometime late last year President Obama visited Charleston, WV and met with Governor Earl Ray Tomblin about the heroin and opiate problem we have here in West Virginia.

The Governor is in the process of signing initiatives on our opioid and heroin problem here in the State and in the meantime I found Jessie's Law. This isn't getting a lot of press coverage in this area at least none I have heard about or read about.

I started it with what I found on it. This is the story and the major founding of this new law Jessie's Law here in West Virginia.

This is Jessica Grubbs story...
(From the youcaring page set up in memory of Jessica Grubb)

On March 2, 2016, Jessica Elizabeth Grubb, beloved daughter of David and Kate Grubb, died of a prescription drug overdose in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  Her passing is deeply felt and painfully heartbreaking to family and friends.  It is, however, an all too common occurrence in the midst of our nation's growing opioid epidemic.  What is not common, is Jessie's unique story, including the tragic circumstances of her death.

Jessie's struggle with addiction received national attention during President Obama's town hall forum on opioid addiction in Charleston, West Virginia, in October of 2015.  At that time, her father David spoke emotionally about Jessie's battle (and her near fatal overdose in August of 2015).  He said:  "I held her in my arms and said, 'Jessie, don't leave us yet.'"  With her mother Kate providing CPR and paramedics administering Naloxone, Jessie survived.  At the conclusion of the forum, President Obama sought out Kate and said:  "Moms need hugs."  Subsequently, the President indicated that Jessie's story moved him deeply and helped him understand more clearly the nature of this terrible problem (as well as the need for additional resources).  Because of the attention garnered by Jessica's condition, this memorial fund has been established to honor Jessica's life, spread the word
about what actually happened to cut short that life, and support a cause very close to Jessie's heart.

Jessica was the second oldest of David and Kate's five daughters (including Katherine, Emma, Hannah, and Ellie).  While all parents think that their children are wonderful, Jessie (who was called “boods” because she looked like, and had the contented demeanor of, a little Buddha when she was a baby) was truly special.  She had great friends, and was a born leader.  In high school, she led a student protest against the war in Iraq (and was suspended for three days).  It was a proud moment for her family.  When she went away to college (University of North Carolina/Asheville), she was innocent, excited, and ready to take on the world.  During that first semester, she was raped. It changed her.  She withdrew from school, returned to Charleston, and began questioning her self-worth.  She kept all of this to herself, feeling ashamed, and somehow guilty.  This was when she was introduced to heroin by a "friend."  It made everything go away…all the pain, all the misplaced feelings of shame, everything.  She no longer cared.  And so, for many years her family struggled with a Jessie who was not truly Jessie.

But after the near fatal overdose in August of last year, Jessie changed again:  she valued life, wanted to live, and was committed to a bright future.  She was on a great path and loved Ann Arbor (where she had been living since September of 2015).  And she was looking forward to her big sister's wedding this year:  Jessica was to be Katherine's maid of honor.

Jessie was an avid runner ("Run Like a Girl").  Unfortunately, she developed a bacterial infection related to a running injury.  The resulting surgery took place on February 24, 2016.  David and Kate went to Ann Arbor to be with her before, during, and after the surgery.  They discussed with Jessica's doctors and hospital personnel that she was a recovering addict and that they were very concerned about her having any access to opioids for post-surgery pain management.  David and Kate were assured that everyone understood the situation.  Nevertheless, the discharging doctor (who said he had no idea that she was a recovering addict) sent precious Jessie home on March 1st with a prescription for fifty (50) oxycodone pills.  And, despite her strong commitment to sobriety, Jessica still had an addict’s brain (and just couldn’t resist the temptation:  a temptation that should NEVER have been placed in front of her).  The Huffington Post ("Jessica Grubb Had a Profound Impact"), Charleston Gazette-Mail ("A Loaded Gun"), Us Weekly ("Family Speaks Out"), Charleston Gazette editorial ("Malpractice"), Charleston Daily Mail editorial ("Fight Is Multifaceted"), and many others have chronicled Jessie's story.  The police later said that eight of the fifty pills were missing.  The last time David and Kate spoke with her was on the evening of her discharge from the hospital.  She seemed fine, just very tired and sleepy.  After eight days in the hospital, she just wanted a good night's sleep.  She said that they would talk more in the morning.  But David and Kate were never able to reach her after that.  Jessie died in her bed, under her covers.  She just went to sleep and never woke up.

The family's heartache is virtually unbearable, and it is compounded by the fact that this should NOT have happened.  They are hopeful that something good will come of this terrible tragedy:  maybe a “Jessie’s Law” that would require doctors and hospitals to refrain from prescribing opioids and other dangerous, addictive drugs to known recovering addicts.  (For example, if a patient is allergic to penicillin, most electronic hospital systems will not let a doctor write an Rx for penicillin – i.e., the system blocks it.  There should be a similar system in place for recovering addicts.)  Jessica, whose pain was not severe at the time of her discharge, should have been sent home with nothing more than mild, non-narcotic pain medication.  But she wasn't.

In addition to fighting for greater awareness on the part of health care professionals (and for "Jessie's Law" to require such information be prominently and conspicuously displayed on medical records), this memorial fund will also be used to assist in something extremely important to Jessica:  the establishment of an intentional, residential living environment for her younger sister, Emma (who is autistic) and other adults with developmental disabilities.  This new facility, which will be the first of its kind in West Virginia, will be called "Jessa's Place."  Jessie loved Emma, and had a knack for working with her.  She and her sisters promised that they would take care of Emma if anything ever happened to David and Kate.  Now, although Jessie can no longer be a part of this pledge during her life, she can play an important role with her enduring spirit (and your help).  To accomplish this, the family needs to raise funds and, if possible, obtain donated land in the Charleston area.

If you would like to donate to the cause for Jessica's Place please go to the page @youcaring to make a pledge of donation.

What Is Jessie's Law?

West Virginia’s two U.S. senators Manchin and Capito set aside party differences and came together in a bi-partisan agreement and have introduced a bill that would try to prevent the misunderstanding that led to a Charleston woman’s overdose on opioid pain pills earlier this year.

“Jessie’s Law,” named after Jessica Grubb, would require a hospital patient’s history of opioid addiction to be prominently featured in their medical records, if the patient gives permission.

Grubb died in March after she went to a hospital for a fairly routine surgery. Both her and her parents repeatedly told her doctors that she was in recovery from heroin addiction and shouldn’t be given opioids except under the strictest supervision.

But her discharging doctor never got the message. He prescribed Grubb 50 oxycodone pills. She filled the prescription at the hospital pharmacy. And she overdosed that night.

The new bill requires the Department of Health and Human Services to come up with standards for how a patient’s addiction history should be displayed on medical records.

After reading this through I believe this law needs more clarity. For Instance...

Now IDK about others, but the use of the word IF in the law is somewhat lax sounding isn't it?
IMO Fifty Oxycodone pills went way overboard when I know from filling a prescription here they only prescribe 5-10 of those. The funny part about that was that I am allergic to codeine which is also in the opiate family. Somehow the prescription got through and when I picked it up I wasn't able to even take it because of allergies. Anyway that was several years ago and classified in the basket with things that happen...

I know here in Berkeley County IF you are a known addict they don't prescribe anything stronger than OTC Tylenol, Aspirin, Aleve or Motrin. At least my son who has a known opiate problem couldn't get anything for pain and he was passing three kidney stones.

The use of the word IF the patient gives permission. Now I'm not saying all, but will many disclose this information on their own?

While we are talking about it I said here in Berkeley County they must have a system in place already because they would not give my son who has a known opiate problem anything for pain and he was passing three kidney stones. They never even asked him. They told him he was getting nothing.

This has me wondering now, What IF they don't offer the information? What then? Will doctors lose their license over a patient not providing that information? This law sounds well meaning, but how will it even work like this? I am thinking more of the stigma on the part of the person addicted since the burden is up to them to disclose the information.

(From myinform dotcom)

More Information can be found @Charleston Gazette

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