This common sense legislation, requiring a conversation between prescriber and patient before an opioid-based painkiller is prescribed and a discussion of potential alternative treatments when appropriate, is now law in New Jersey, Rhode Island, Nevada, Maryland, Michigan and Connecticut as well as one of the recommendations of the President’s National Opioid Commission. (In NJ, RI, MD and NV it applies across the board; MI and CT, target it to youth and their parents.) Our goal is to make it the law in every state:
Sample NJ language below:
d. Prior to issuing the initial prescription of a Schedule II controlled dangerous substance or any other opioid drug which is a prescription drug as defined in section 2 of P.L.2003, c.280 (C.45:14-41) in a course of treatment for acute or chronic pain and again prior to issuing the third prescription of the course of treatment, a practitioner shall discuss with the patient, or the patient’s parent or guardian if the patient is under 18 years of age and is not an emancipated minor, the risks associated with the drugs being prescribed, including but not limited to: (1) the risks of addiction and overdose associated with opioid drugs and the dangers of taking opioid drugs with alcohol, benzodiazepines and other central nervous system depressants; (2) the reasons why the prescription is necessary; (3) alternative treatments that may be available; and (4) risks associated with the use of the drugs being prescribed, specifically that opioids are highly addictive, even when taken as prescribed, that there is a risk of developing a physical or psychological dependence on the controlled dangerous substance, and that the risks of taking more opioids than prescribed, or mixing sedatives, benzodiazepines or alcohol with opioids, can result in fatal respiratory depression. The practitioner shall include a note in the patient’s medical record that the patient or the patient’s parent or guardian, as applicable, has discussed with the practitioner the risks of developing a physical or psychological dependence on the controlled dangerous substance and alternative treatments that may be available.