Governor Kasich’s new guidelines would limit doctors from prescribing opioid medication longer than seven days for adults and five days for minors.
The guidelines are targeted for acute pain. That means someone who just had surgery and needs a few days to heal, or a broken bone, or a relatively minor injury. If the doctor thinks the patient needs more, they need to add a reason to the electronic medical record.
These rules were never meant for those dealing with legitimately diagnosed chronic pain, cancer, end-of-life care or addiction therapy.
According to Akron General pain specialist, Dr. Bina Mehta, any doctor who wants to treat patients with chronic pain will be required to received eight hours of addiction education and an annual two-hour course on prescribing controlled substances. They also must be connected to the Ohio’s Automated Rx Reporting System (OARRS) that keeps track of opioid prescriptions.
The rules are not in effect now; we're waiting to see if they will become legislated. If that's the case, there will be limited flexibility for doctors.
If the state's medical and pharmacy boards can govern over them, doctors may have more leeway in prescribing choices.
Dr. Mehta says another law that did take effect this month gives just a fourteen-day window for a patient to fill an opioid prescription from the date it was given.
If your doctor stopped prescribing your opioid medication you need to have a conversation with them about your actual diagnosis and what alternatives are available to you.
Some of you told me you're not sure what to do if your doctor prescribes an opioid.
If your doctor gives you pain medication ask if it’s a controlled substance or opioid and if so, ask yourself if you need something that strong.
If you require surgery, it's a legitimate use and will most likely be prescribed. Most people given short term pain medication have no problem or addiction.
If you have a family history of drug or alcohol abuse you're at a higher risk for addiction and it's important to tell your doctor beforehand.
If you find yourself taking more than prescribed or you feel you need more than prescribed, it's critical you inform your doctor.
While it's true that for some people it's possible to become addicted after taking one pill, properly supervising your doses and keeping your doctor in the loop can help launch an intervention before a full-blown addiction takes hold.