Ohio implementing new rules for prescription of opioids


The new rules, which take effect Sunday, require increased communication with patients and establish safety check points for physicians to reassess whether opioids are needed to treat pain lasting longer than six weeks.

The Centers for Disease Control reported nearly 50,000 opioid overdose deaths occurred in the U.S. in 2017, an increase from previous years. Most of those deaths involved painkillers.

Ohio leads the nation in opioid-related emergency room visits.

In 2018, the Cleveland Clinic reported a total of 2,832 opioid-related Emergency Department visits, including 1,006 overdoses.

“The state has recognized that we have a problem,” said Cleveland Clinic Pain Specialist Dr. Robert Bolash.

The new rules aim to increase patient awareness of the risk of opioid misuse and addiction by requiring doctors to discuss and document non-opioid treatments before starting long-term treatment. The rules also establish check points with requirements for varying doses of opioids. At certain dose levels, a pain specialist must be consulted or provide a treatment recommendation.