New Opioid Limits Law Passes

Governor Charlie Baker has signed a law that limits first-time prescriptions of opioids to seven days, requiring verbal screenings of all public school students, and passing a host of other provisions related to education, treatment, and prevention of drug addiction. The seven-day limit provides exemptions for patients with cancer or chronic pain, or those who are in palliative care.

MMS President Dennis M. Dimitri, M.D., said, “The MMS commends the work of the legislature and Gov. Baker in crafting a bill that offers a number of helpful measures to address a complex problem.”

He said, “The seven-day limit on prescription drugs is particularly noteworthy, as this provision in the law should reduce the amount of prescription drugs that can be diverted to abuse or misuse, and at the same time allow a reasonable time for prescriptions for those patients who truly need pain relief.”

“This law is another step forward in attacking the problem of opioid abuse,” he said. “Physicians will continue to work with leaders in state government, public health officials, and health care providers in reducing prescription drug and opioid abuse in the Commonwealth.” More details on the new law are available at  www.massmed.org/opioidbill2016.

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