Kentucky Law Restricts Opioid Prescribing

Released: 08/14/2017   By: Heidi Dufrene, PharmD

Kentucky is following several other states that have recently enacted new laws to restrict opioid prescribing. House Bill 333 will restrict opioid prescriptions for acute pain to three days. Kentucky used 2016 CDC Guidelines for Prescribing Opioids to determine the days’ supply limitation for Schedule II controlled substances for an acute medical condition. Prescribers often have good intentions when prescribing opioids for acute pain, such as dental work or muscle injury. However, this is often how patients start the vicious cycle of opioid addiction. Lawmakers are hoping the new law prevents future drug abuse by those receiving opioids for new injuries. Exceptions to this ruling are allowed if the prescriber’s professional judgment deems that more than a three-day supply is medically necessary and documents why the deviation is necessary. This law does not apply to Schedule II substances being prescribed to treat chronic pain, cancer, or hospice treatment.

Although the law has already taken effect, physicians are not required to immediately follow the new regulations. The Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure must develop guidelines to implement the rule. This may take some time since the process mandates a public hearing.

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