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New Requirements Will Guide Doctors in Prescribing Opioids

Emilie Zhang
Pills and an Rx pad

With theopioid crisis killing an estimated 11 Ohioans a day, state medical boards are rolling out additional rules for doctors and other prescribers who have patients dealing with long-term and acute pain. The guidelines create new hurdles to jump over before a doctor can prescribe opioid-based painkillers. 

The new requirements ask doctors to evaluate a patient’s condition, look for signs of drug misuse, and consider consultation with a pain specialist.

Mark Hurst with the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Servicesexplains, the stronger the drug, the higher the new standards.

"So these rules require consideration of alternatives to opioids prior to prescribing and establish some common sense thresholds for physicians and other prescribers," Hurst says.

These are just the latest in a series of rules Gov. JohnKasich’s administration has laid out in the past few years, such as limiting acute pain prescriptions to seven days for adults. Painkiller overdose deaths are at a six-year low, but deaths from opioid-related illicit drugs such as heroin soared by at least a third in the last year.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.