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Ohio tightens rules for treating acute pain with opioid painkillers

Opioid prescriptions limited to 7 days for adults
Posted: 11:48 AM, Mar 31, 2017
Updated: 2017-04-06 21:19:13Z

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The days of getting a 30-day supply of pain pills after having wisdom teeth pulled are over as Ohio tightens its rules for opioid prescriptions.

In cases of acute pain, such as tooth extraction or knee surgery, doctors, dentists and nurses may only prescribe a seven-day supply for adults or five days for minors. Prescriptions currently can be written for 30- or 90-day supplies of painkillers.

The change will be effective as soon as it’s approved by the State Medical Board, Board of Pharmacy, Dental Board and Board of Nursing.

Gov. John Kasich announced the changes at a news conference Thursday as part of the Buckeye State's approach to combat drug overdoses, which killed 3,050 Ohioans in 2015.

"You are going to have to abide by these rules or else you're in serious trouble, whether you're a doctor, a dentist or a nurse,” Kasich said.

The rule does not apply to patients with chronic pain such as cancer treatment, palliative care, hospice care and medication-assisted treatment for addiction, the governor’s office said.

Prescribers will also be able to override the acute pain limit if they identify a specific reason in their patients’ medical records.

The new limits could reduce the supply of prescription opiates available for abuse by as many as 109 million doses, according to Kasich’s Press Secretary Emmalee Kalmbach. 

The new limits are being enacted through rules passed by the State Medical Board, Board of Pharmacy, Dental Board and Board of Nursing.  

Watch Gov. Kasich's full news conference from Thursday in the video player below.