Bill Aims To Limit Opioid Prescriptions

Feb 8, 2017

A proposal that would limit opioid prescriptions passed a Senate committee Wednesday. It is one of 15 measures authored by Sen. Jim Merritt that aim to combat the opioid epidemic.

The bill would limit the prescriptions amount to seven days for first time adult patients and children. Trauma surgeon Dr. Brian Brewer is one of two people who testified that, in his field, that is too limiting.

“Seven days is probably not enough from our standpoint,” says Brewer. “We do see patients back in about fourteen days to check on their wounds to remove their staples, at that time most of the patients wounds have not healed and they do have a significant amount of pain.”

Senators amended the bill to allow doctors to override the seven-day limit. Republican Sen. Randy Head says that’s more than fair.

“As amended the bill says if a physician thinks in their professional judgment that limit is unreasonable, document it and write the script for as long as you want,” says Head. “I’m mortified that members of the profession would say that’s too onerous given what’s going on in my community.”

Dr. Richard Feldman with Franciscan Health supports the amended bill.

“Every patient is different, and every condition is different, and we would like to have more flexibility, and I think there should be more flexibility with trauma and post surgical pain,” Feldman says.

The proposal would also allow patients to direct a pharmacist to only fill a portion of the prescription.