With the opioid 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 Services explains, 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. John Kasich’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.