Psychologists in the state of Oregon may soon be licensed to prescribe powerful, often damaging, psychiatric drugs.
According to an article, Psychologists Win Prescribing Rights, on the recent Senate vote.
Senate Bill 1046 passed the House today on a 38-9 vote and the Senate (Feb. 22) on a 18-11 vote. The bill sets up training and certification requirements for prescribing psychologists. While the bill marks the culmination of a longstanding debate at the state capitol, this issue is by no means resolved.
The Oregon law will be even looser than that for the other two states that allow psychologists to prescribe these pills.
Patient safety could be at risk, said John McCulley, lobbyist for the Oregon Psychiatric Association. In just two other states that grant similar privileges, New Mexico and Louisiana, a medical doctor must directly supervise a prescribing psychologist for at least two years after receiving a license, McCulley said. The Oregon bill, in contrast, requires “collaboration” with a healthcare provider.
Hopefully this isn’t the start of an unfortunate trend among state legislatures. The long term consequences of any such national trend could be devestating for people undergoing mental health treatment. We know very well from the statistics that these psychiatric drugs can have a ruinous effect on people’s overall physical health.
A national group, Psychologists Opposed to Prescription Privileges for Psychologists, also opposed the bill because it “allowed psychologists to prescribe medication with less than half of the medical training required of all other prescribing professionals.”
The reasoning behind this legislation has to do with providing for rural areas that lack basic mental health services. I feel certain that if the Oregon state legislators had looked, they could have found a better way to treat their rural residents than by allowing less than qualified professionals to deal with their psychiatric needs.