Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

New Regs Designed to Reduce Pill Abuse ; Opioids to Be Monitored

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

New Regs Designed to Reduce Pill Abuse ; Opioids to Be Monitored

Article excerpt

Hoosier doctors who prescribe opioid painkillers - and their patients - face new rules designed to reduce prescription drug abuse. The rules, which were issued by the Medical Licensing Board of Indiana, took effect this month.

Now, long -term pain patients must sign medication agreements and submit to drug tests.

Their doctors must assess the patients' substance abuse risk, prescription history and other factors.

The rules cover patients who are prescribed more than 60 opioid- containing pills a month or a morphine equivalent dose of more than 15 milligrams per day for more than three months. It does not apply to people who take such medicines for less than three months, or to patients who are terminally ill.

"It's going to affect most people on chronic narcotic medications," said Dr. Fred Wallisch, a family physician who is also the medical director for Deaconess Clinic.

"The expectations are laid out both for physicians and for patients."

Some details of the new requirements

At the beginning of treatment, and at least annually after that, doctors must run an INSPECT report on each patient. INSPECT (Indiana Scheduled Prescription Electronic Collecting & Tracking), is a database of controlled substance prescriptions filled at Indiana pharmacies.

Doctor and patient must sign a treatment agreement. The document must include certain information including the patient's consent to drug testing; the patient's promise to take the medicine as prescribed; and authorization for the doctor to conduct random pill counts.

The doctor must assess the patient's mental health status and substance-abuse risk.

Patients must see their doctor for a visit at least once every four months.

To confirm that medicine is being taken as prescribed, the patient must submit to annual drug tests.

All of these provisions are part of a larger effort to cut down on prescription drug abuse in Indiana.

Last year, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller established the Indiana Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force, which is made up of state legislators, law enforcement officials, health care providers and others. …

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