Dover – The number of prescriptions written in Delaware for opioid pain medications has fallen since the enactment of new prescribing regulations by the Department of State earlier this year.
Statistics from the Division of Professional Regulation, which licenses controlled substance prescribers, show a 12-percent drop in opioid prescriptions statewide compared to the first quarter of 2017. The number of Delaware patients being treated with opioid medications has also declined by 8 percent over the same time period, the division reports.
The new regulations, which took effect April 1, were designed to help prescribers more closely monitor and control the use of opioids by their patients.
Key elements of the new regulations are aimed at controlling the amount of opioids given to new patients and aggressively monitoring their treatment. First-time opioid prescriptions may not exceed a one week supply under the new rules. If further opioid prescriptions are deemed necessary, further action is required, including a physical exam with discussion of relevant patient history and the risks of opioids, and a check of the statewide Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) database. In addition, the state’s new PMP Advisory Committee has begun the process of analyzing the practices of individual prescribers to ensure that they are following state laws and licensing standards.
The regulatory reforms complement efforts organized across state government and in cooperation with Delaware’s community of public health organizations and anti-addiction advocates.
The newly established Behavioral Health Consortium is working to develop an action plan that will prevent and treat substance use disorder, expand and improve mental health treatment and recovery and provide support for family members of loved ones who are battling addiction or coping with mental health issues.
The state’s Addiction Action Committee, also created by the General Assembly this year, is actively considering two other initiatives relating to the prescription of opioid drugs: possible legislation requiring health insurance coverage of alternatives to opioids for pain management, and possible state responses to the co-prescription of opioids and benzodiazapenes.
Source: State Of Delaware