Another Strategy in the Opioid Battle.

Author:Blackman, Kate

Limiting opioid prescriptions has emerged as one of the most recent policy trends for state lawmakers who are scrambling to reduce the ongoing high rates of addiction, overdose and death from both legal and illegal opioids.

Almost half of the opioid-related deaths in the U.S.--42 of 91 daily--involve a prescription painkiller. Despite recent declines, opioid prescribing rates remain nearly three times higher than 1999 levels, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Using opioids to treat acute pain can lead to long-term use, and the risks increase based on the length or dose of the initial prescription, according to the CDC.

In response to the crisis, Massachusetts lawmakers enacted comprehensive legislation in 2016 that included a first-in-the-nation limit on initial opioid prescriptions to a seven-day supply. In just over a year, 16 states have followed with similar limits or guidelines.

Most of these laws limit first-time opioid prescriptions to a seven-day supply, though some set the limit at three, five or 14 days.

Six legislatures have enacted bills in the last two years directing or authorizing...

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