According to the Department of Health and Human Services, opiod use and abuse is a significant public health concern (click here). As of this writing, representative Tom Marino has withdrawn his nomination to lead the White House Office of National Drug Policy (IE drug czar) over a potential conflict of interest (click here). An interesting story on CBS 60 minutes aired last Sunday which fueled this event.
On a more personal level, my state legislature is rolling out legislation regulating the prescription of opiods. The highlights of the legislation include limits on prescription quantity (5 days for acute pain and 7 days for post op), mandatory search of the patient's previous 12 month prescription profile on the state website by prescriber or delegate prior to prescribing opiates (also mandatory reporting of the prescriptions by pharmacies to the state with potential for audits of both prescriber and pharmacies-legal ramifications if non compliant), documented PA/NP consulting with MD if pain clinic role on prescriptions for > 30 days, and eventual mandatory E-prescribing of all scheduled substances. My state also requires that at least two hours of category 1 CME per cycle be in opiate prescription practices.
How is your state responding to the 'opiod epidemic'? Do you feel that increased regulation is a necessary way to control the problem or is it creating a further burden on your ability to practice (or both)? Many states offer free prescription cme through their medical boards; the PAOS will continue to offer it as part of our conferences to help you with this requirement. I would advise you to check with your state medical board for updates as this will probably affect us all at some point.