Legislature limiting opioid abuse has been a state and national conversation, but in Massachusetts it is now law. What is being called the most comprehensive bill in the nation, it includes:
- Mandatory substance-abuse assessments for emergency room patients who are suspected of an opioid overdose
- Verbal screenings for students at school to look for signs of substance abuse
- Strengthening of the mandatory Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) that tracks to whom, how often and in what dosages opioids are prescribed
- Required substance abuse training for parents and coaches
How this law will impact other state’s prescription and drug assessment policies is unknown, but some states, including Connecticut, have guidelines to prevent pain killer abuse. Others are also developing more proactive strategies, like the one spearheaded by Massachusetts governor Gov. Charlie Baker.
At the national level, a bill proposed by Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin made headlines when he and other governors suggested opioid prescribed for chronic pain should be drastically cut. President Barack Obama did not endorse the bill, saying limiting the number of drugs to patients who needed them would not stop the crisis.
How this all impacts surgical patients remains unknown since chronic pain patients are the main focus of prescription restructuring plans. However, we may see a transition from opioid-focused pain management approaches to multimodal approaches if legislation gets even more strict.
Do you think surgeons wil ever have to justify choosing opioid-only pain management approaches instead of multimodal approaches? How do you think opioid abuse should be approached? Comment below or reach out to me at [email protected].
Filed Under: Industry regulations