INSPECT bill could slow spread of opioid addiction

By Amari Thompson

INDIANAPOLIS — Legislation that would require all medical practitioners to use state prescription-monitoring software, before prescribing opioids, passes 47-1 in the Senate.

Senate Bill 221, authored by Erin Houchin, R-Salem, requires doctors to have access to INSPECT, a website to allow practitioners to check a patient’s controlled substance prescription history.

Senator Erin Houchin, R-Salem, discusses Senate Bill 221.
Photo by Kirsten Nielsen

Houchin said she believes the bill is the first step in stopping the opioid crisis happening around the state.

When using INSPECT, doctors must check the website for any controlled substances such as opioids that the patient may have already been prescribed.

Sen. Liz Brown, R-Fort Wayne, voted no in the chamber today—because of limited funding the bill will provide.

“I would like to support this bill and I appreciate the intent of the bill,” Brown said. “My no vote today, will be because I have consistently asked if there will be a promise that the integration will be fully funded.”

Brown said when she spoke with the INSPECT board, no faculty members were certain all doctors in Indiana would be fully funded by the Indiana State Department of Health.

Brown fears rural areas around Indiana would not get access to the software.

Gov. Eric Holcomb supports the INSPECT program.

“The governor’s office has committed to funding for this integration for the next four years,” Houchin said. “The governor’s office has stepped forward and is going to make these searches as easy as possible.”

Currently, Indiana ranks 11 in the country in prescribing opioids.

“It is certainly important that we act. We are losing an entire generation of Hoosiers to this crisis,” said Houchin.

Only 40 percent of medical practioners in Indiana have registered for INSPECT and by 2021 Houchin expects 100 percent will be registered.

The bill now moves to the House.

Amari Thompson is a reporter for, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.


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