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Washington Imposes New Rules on Prescribing Powerful Painkillers

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The state of Washington plans to impose tough new rules on doctors who want to prescribe opiate painkillers to patients, including mandatory third-party evaluation of patients who request higher doses of the drug but don't show signs of improvement, the New York Times reported July 28.

Other states are closely watching the regulatory efforts in Washington, designed to crack down on prescription-drug abuse and overdose deaths that some attribute to physician ignorance or laxness in prescribing such powerful medications.

“This is not just about addicts but little old ladies with arthritis starting to die because of this kind of medical practice,” said pain specialist Alex Cahana, who is helping to draft the Washington regulations.

Advocates for pain sufferers say the new rules will result in legitimate patients being denied needed medication.

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