In November of 2018, the DEA released the results of the 2018 National Drug Threat Assessment. The 164 page report highlighted the threats posed to the United States by domestic and international drug trafficking and the abuse of illicit drugs. The DEA’s acting administrator, Uttam Dhillon, said the assessment “underscores the magnitude of the nation’s opioid crisis and highlights the necessity of using all the tools at our disposal to fight this epidemic.”1
To address our nation's opioid epidemic, states are increasingly taking action at the prescription level. This includes enacting mandates on prescribers and their controlled substance prescriptions. Legislators have focused on opioid prescriptions in order to prevent overprescribing, and the resulting regulations primarily fall into four categories:
The staggering rate of prescription opioid misuse, abuse, and overdose has placed a heavy burden on prescribing clinicians and their practices. Federal and state regulators have responded by enacting extensive opioid prescribing guidelines. Across the board, these guidelines prioritize the importance of properly assessing a patient’s risk of misuse or abuse.
Why you need prescribing protocols
In an effort to combat the opioid epidemic, state and federal governments continue to introduce regulations and guidelines for prescribing controlled substances. In addition, insurance payers have issued policies for prescribers.
While these guidelines and policies have assisted in the fight against the opioid epidemic, they aren’t static or consistent and have left prescribers overwhelmed with trying to keep up.
The Hudson Institute’s recent briefing paper, “A Strategy to Counter the Opioid Epidemic: Contain, Reduce, Extinguish” delivers a clear explanation of our nation’s opioid problem, and importantly, a comprehensive approach to address the issue.
A recent Washington Post article highlights the fact that states are quickly adopting comprehensive mandates requiring doctors who prescribe opioids and other controlled substances to check a patient’s prescription history within the statewide database (prescription drug monitoring program – PDMP). To date, eighteen states have implemented these mandates and it is likely that adoption will continue to increase in the coming months and years. Bottom line—mandates are here to stay.
Our nation is in the midst of an unprecedented opioid epidemic. The growth of the opioid crisis has generated an outcry for more resources to fight addition and provide proper treatment. Policymakers and public health officials are increasingly using new tools such as prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs)—state-based electronic databases that track the dispensing of certain controlled substances, including prescription opioids—to curb misuse and reduce overdose deaths. While PDMPs have been proven to be effective, the number of prescribers using these databases in clinical care remains low.
The information presented on or through this website is made available solely for general information purposes and is not intended to substitute for professional, medical or legal advice. We do not warrant the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of this information. Any reliance you place on such information is strictly at your own risk. We disclaim all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on such materials.