A new law goes into effect that is designed to help curb the opioid epidemic.
What the New Law Does
Doctors may now only prescribe seven days worth of opioid medicine to people with a short-term need for the drugs. A short-term need may include surgeries, a bad back, or a broken limb. Prescriptions can be refilled after the seven day period expires.
What is an Opioid?
Opioids are more commonly known as pain killers. Prescription opioids can include tramadol, percocet, codeine, or fentanyl. Read our article about Driving Under the Influence of Pain Pills, an issue that is more and more common as pain pill prescriptions have increased.
Many people start using opioids in pill form, then later graduate to injecting heroin, which is cheaper than maintaining a drug habit based on pills.
What’s the Purpose of the Law?
It is no secret that the opioid epidemic has caused serious concern in America. Many doctors over-prescribe narcotic painkiller drugs, opening the doors to addiction.
The majority of heroin users began their addiction with opioid pain pills (about 80% of heroin users started with pills). Many people hooked on pain pills eventually move on to heroin, which is cheaper and can be stronger.
Limiting the amount of opioids out there would limit access to the pills. People would no longer be able to have a surplus of pills which could be sold to others without a prescription.
Opioids can be very addictive. The more a person is exposed to opioid use the more risk they run of becoming addicted to the drug.
Acute v. Long-term Pain
The law only applies to prescriptions of opioids to people with acute or short-term pain. The law will not impact prescriptions to those with chronic or long-term pain. Research shows that in most instances, people with short-term pain only require 3 to 7 days of opiods to treat the pain. The reality is that doctors may prescribe a standard 30 days worth of pills for each instance of pain. This increases the chances of someone becoming hooked on the pills.
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Sam Bernstein is an Ann Arbor Criminal Defense Attorney
ArborYpsi Law is located at 4158 Washtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48108.