Rhode Island Sets State Opioid Limits

Released: 08/31/2016   By: Heidi Dufrene, Pharm.D.

Rhode Island has joined a number of states placing limitations on initial prescribing limits on opioids. In June, Governor Gina Raimondo of Rhode Island signed several bills into law to make prescription opioids less readily available and increase access to addiction treatment. The bill includes limiting initial prescriptions of opioids for acute pain management of outpatient adults to 30 morphine milligram equivalents (MMEs) daily for a maximum of twenty doses. These limits do not apply for chronic pain patients. There are also requirements for prescribers and pharmacies to access the state prescription monitoring program (PMP) so that it may be reviewed prior to starting any opioid. Prescribers must also review the state database at least once every three months and document the patient’s medical record.
The new bill also requires comprehensive discharge planning for patients admitted with substance abuse disorders and increased access (and insurance coverage) for the opioid antagonist, naloxone, for anyone wanting to purchase for themselves or another person. Naloxone is used to reverse the effects of opioids during an overdose.