Due to the rising opioid epidemic and overdose rates from opioids in the United States, laws restrict the number of drugs prescribed at one time. The model duration limits initial prescriptions for opioids to a seven-day supply for adults. It also limits prescriptions for minors to a seven-day supply. However, some prescriptions can exceed this amount if a person is suffering from cancer pain, chronic pain, or is under palliative care.
Regulations for Doctors That Prescribe Addictive Opioids
There are 39 states in the US with opioid limitation laws. Each state has its specific laws on the number of opioids that can initially be prescribed, and this amount varies by state. For instance, Kentucky has an initial three-day limit for acute pain. South Carolina has an initial five-day limit or equivalent of 90 milligrams of Morphine daily. Oregon currently has no set limit but recommends the lowest effective dose. Nevada has a fourteen-day initial limit.
How Do Opioid Restriction Laws Affect Chronic Pain Patients?
The number of people in the United States with chronic pain conditions continues to rise. Many chronic pain patients are upset with the restrictions placed on opioid prescriptions. In states like Arizona, laws have been put in place with a ceiling on the maximum dose a patient can receive. Patients feel like they aren’t being adequately treated and have to suffer because of those that have abused opioids in the past. The National Institutes of Health has a publication titled “Opioids, chronic pain, and the law” which reports that:
As the United States continues its “War on Drugs,” physicians who prescribe opioids for pain control must recognize that legal issues are an important part of the prescription process. Physicians who do not correctly prescribe opioids may mark their patients as drug abusers and themselves as misprescribed. Efforts are underway to characterize appropriately the conditions under which opioids should be prescribed for the management of pain. California and Texas have passed intractable pain laws, which permit the prescribing of opioid medication for chronic pain patients. These laws were necessary because claims were made against prescribers who legitimately administered opioids to chronic pain patients. Physicians must be aware that once a patient has been diagnosed an addict, it is not legal to prescribe opioids for the purpose of maintaining or detoxifying that patient; treatment of pain is still permissible, however. It is clear that new standards of care must be developed to reduce the liability of legitimate prescribers from sanctions in either criminal or civil settings. With new standards of care, prescriptions for opioids written in good faith for the treatment of pain should survive legal scrutiny. (NIH)
Physicians are scared to prescribe any controlled substances now due to the addiction epidemic and laws in place.
Health Officials May Lossen Guidelines for Prescribing Opioids
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is considering whether or not to relax some of its guidelines for doctors that are prescribing opioids. They recently proposed some changes on prescribing opioids, which could include rolling back limits on doses that can be prescribed and for how many days in acute pain situations. This could signal a positive new direction for physicians managing chronic pain. When laws were put into place back in 2016, the CDC expected to see rates from opioid overdoses fall, but instead, opioid over deaths have continued to rise. Something has to be done to control this national crisis we are facing.
Our Treatment Program for Opioid Addiction
Evoke Wellness has a network of drug and alcohol treatment centers that are carefully designed to offer a lasting solution for healing those suffering from substance use disorders. We offer a safe and comfortable environment for medical detoxification. Our patients are treated extensively so that minimal discomfort is experienced during the detox process. Evoke Wellness provides residential treatment in a structured environment and then provides you with after-care support, which is very important when being treated for addiction. In addition, evoke Wellness is here to help you get on the road to long-term recovery. A sober life begins now!