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Some States Implement Stricter Regulations on Doctors Who Prescribe Opioids


A growing number of states are implementing stricter regulations on doctors who prescribe opioids, in an effort to cut down on prescription drug abuse.

This summer, Washington state began to require that osteopathic physicians and non-physician prescribers of opioids provide written treatment plans, or “patient contracts,” that call for mandatory, periodic drug testing. The rules, which will cover all doctors beginning in January, include instructions on how to evaluate and care for patients with chronic pain not related to cancer. Under the new rules, primary care doctors must consult with board-certified pain specialists before they prescribe daily morphine-equivalent doses of 120 milligrams or higher.

“The pendulum has swung too far in terms of liberal use of opioids. Now it’s swinging back the other way,” said Mimi Pattison, MD, Chair of Washington’s Medical Quality Assurance Commission, which wrote the state’s rules. She predicted other states will follow Washington’s lead.

The Washington State Medical Association reports it has heard from some doctors who say they will not prescribe opioids because of the new rules.

In Ohio, doctors who work at pain clinics must complete 20 hours of pain medicine continuing medical education (CME) every two years, according to American Medical News. Doctors who own pain clinics must register with the state medical board, undergo random site inspections and comply with patient-tracking requirements.

In Florida and six other states, doctors cannot receive their medical license until they complete CME courses on pain management or prescribing controlled substances.

The article notes 36 states have prescription-monitoring programs, and another 12 states and the District of Columbia have enacted legislation that authorizes the programs.

3 Responses to this article

  1. Avatar of Elizabeth Russell
    Elizabeth Russell / October 19, 2011 at 8:19 pm

    Could this kind of regulation be used for people prescribing medical marijuana as well?

  2. Avatar of Debra Rincon Lopez
    Debra Rincon Lopez / October 19, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    I thought that this was already being DONE? I guess I was misinformed totally. I see far too many people getting Addicted to pain pills now? They are candy to alot of people, when Poor people couldn’t get HELP for pain if their Life depended on it? It’s all CONFUSED & the wrong people are getting HELPED. I PRAY things change for all PAIN ISSUEs & PATIENTs,addicts are another story?

  3. Avatar of j wright
    j wright / November 19, 2011 at 10:40 am

    ok I’m sorry but I guess I fail to understand why addicts should be treated any different….an addict is an addict. Once these people get on these pain clinics, the opioid treatment that they get, they better go to bed praying every single night, because the very second these golden ‘addicts’ get cut, or loose their health insurance, they most certainly now have joined the ranks of the ‘Other’ more unsavory addicts. The pain clinic can no longer continue to ‘rape’ your health provider for all the un necessary x-rays and ridiculous treatments that they invent to rip your money off, because you’ve lost the coverage….who in their right mind would continue paying for the crazyness they charge….so, now you are one of the addicts this poster is talking about…see how that works.

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