Sen. Portantino Introduces Legislation to Prohibit Oxycodone Prescriptions for Anyone Under 21

Wednesday, February 15 2017

Sacramento, CA – Today, Senator Anthony J. Portantino (D – La Cañada Flintridge) introduced SB 419, which will prohibit individuals under the age of twenty-one from being prescribed oxycodone.

Oxycodone, more commonly known by its brand name OxyContin, has become exceedingly abused, often ending in addiction, tragedy and overdose.  There are numerous cases in California and across the country of teenagers becoming addicted to prescribed pain medication. According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention more than 15,000 people died in 2015 due to overdose of opiates. Oxycodone, known as an opioid analgesic is a powerful painkiller prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain and is considered a high-risk drug for dependency.

“I don’t want to see another child and family go from the soccer field to drug addiction counseling to tragedy,” commented Portantino.

Former President Barack Obama has stated, “More Americans die each year from opioid overdoses than in traffic accidents.” Nationally, stronger guidelines are put into place to prevent and decrease the number of deaths affected by this addictive drug. Today, Senator Portantino is strengthening these guidelines for Californians by introducing SB 419.

“The abuse of this drug is a national epidemic and we need to protect our children from being prescribed this highly addictive substance.  Lawmakers, regulators and medical professionals have been wrestling with how best to control this synthetic heroin and I’m saying, while we’re looking for solutions, let’s make sure we keep it away from our most vulnerable population, ” added Portantino.

Recent news outlets reported oxycodone has become a gateway drug, leading users to the traditional street drug, heroin. Oxycodone contains levels of opiates that can result in physical dependence or an urge for greater euphoria through the use of an illegal drug like heroin. Too often, a young athlete is hospitalized with their first sports injury. With very little life experience to understand pain medication and addiction, they become dependent on oxycodone.  Parents are also sent home with a prescription for their children without complete comprehension of the risks associated with this medication. 

“We should not be giving our young people a gateway drug that can lead to illicit drug abuse such as heroin. What we all need is a time out and pause for the health and well-being of our children,” commented Senator Portantino.