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Kasich Announces New State Rules For Prescribing Painkillers

Thomas Bradley

With the opioid crisis killing an estimated 11 Ohioans a day, Gov. John Kasich announced new rules for monitoring the prescribing of painkillers to patients suffering chronic pain.

Kasich announced Wednesday that the state medical boards will roll out additional rules for doctors and other prescribers who have patients dealing with sub-acute pain, which lasts between six to 12 weeks, and long-term pain, which lasts 12 weeks or more. The guidelines create new hurdles to jump over before a doctor can prescribe opioid-based painkillers.

The new requirements ask doctors to evaluate a patient’s condition, look for signs of drug misuse, and consider consultation with a pain specialist. It doesn’t affect patients who are dying or being treated in hospitals.

As Mark Hurst with the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services explains, the stronger the drug, the higher the new standards.

“So these rules require consideration of alternatives to opioids prior to prescribing and establish some common sense thresholds for physicians and other prescribers,” Hurst says.

These are just the latest in a series of rules Gov. John Kasich’s administration has laid out in the past few years, such as limiting acute pain prescriptions to seven days for adults. Painkiller overdose deaths are at a six-year low, but deaths from opioid-related illicit drugs such as heroin soared by at least a third in the last year.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.