ADEA State Update

Trends in State Opioid Legislation

(State Policy, Opioid Abuse, Prescription Drug Abuse) Permanent link   All Posts

In 2018, state legislatures continued to pass a significant amount of legislation in response to the opioid crisis. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 45 states considered more than 480 bills aimed at prevention and intervention during the most recent legislative sessions. Around 70 of those bills became law. Among the most significant trends this year were laws placing limitations or guidelines on the amounts of opioids that may be prescribed, mandating provider education around prescribing practices or substance abuse, and requirements for prescribers to check prescription drug monitoring programs before issuing a prescription for an opioid.

While some of these trends will likely continue into 2019, a recent study found that a simple letter may be an effective way to reduce prescribing rates among practitioners. The study found that prescribers in San Diego County who received a letter informing them that a patient they once prescribed an opioid to had died from an overdose reduced their prescribing of opioid medications by 10%, compared with prescribers who did not receive a letter. The study also found that practitioners who received a letter initiated opioid prescriptions for 7% fewer patients and were between 3% and 4.5% less likely to write a prescription for the highest doses of opioid medication.

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