They also requires patients undergo a urine or saliva drug-monitoring test before they get a prescription. And they require doctors and patients who are prescribed painkillers to sign a mandatory “treatment agreement” that compels doctors to disclose information about the potential for addiction.
The new rules reflect the increasing attention that states are paying to the problem of overprescribed painkillers. In Alabama, the legislature passed a series of laws last year aimed at curbing access to narcotic painkillers, including making “doctor shopping” to get multiple painkiller prescriptions a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail. The Washington state legislature has set dosage limits for doctors who prescribe pain medicines. Patients prescribed higher dosage amounts are required to get a second opinion from a pain specialist. Also in 2012, Kentucky passed laws requiring the licensing of pain clinics and gave law enforcement officials greater access to the state’s prescription drug monitoring database.