The state’s new, tougher stance on opioid prescribing, although initially unpopular, now has many doctors and health officials hailing a better and safer system. The concerns that pain patients would be left in a world of hurt went unrealized, health officials say.
But one local legislator claims the state was guilty of overkill when it adopted the new pain-management rules. And Rep. Paul Harris, R-Vancouver, plans to take his skepticism, and a few ideas of his own, to Olympia this year.
Standing by the rules
In 2010, Washington lawmakers approved a bill, sponsored by state Rep. Jim Moeller, D-Vancouver, calling for new rules concerning the management of chronic pain not caused by cancer. The purpose of the legislation was to improve opioid prescribing and rein in prescription drug abuse and misuse.
The rules require for each patient an evaluation and complete history of pain treatment, a written treatment plan and a written agreement for treatment. The rules also require prescribers of long-acting opioids or methadone to have completed at least four hours of specialized training.