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Law to limit opioid prescriptions will take effect Thursday

Health

A law that aims to limit the amount of opioids being prescribed in West Virginia goes into affect on Thursday, June 7.

Senate Bill 273, which overwhelmingly passed both the House and Senate in the 208 legislative session, aims to crack down on the opioid epidemic in West Virginia. 

Doctors will be limited to prescribing between a three to seven day supply of opioid drugs at a time, with some exceptions. 

Prescriptions will also be documented in the Controlled Substances Monitoring Program Database to help prevent “doctor shopping.”

Legislators and the medical community agree that these are necessary steps to getting a handle on the state’s opioid crisis.

“We have people coming in that are suffering from overdoses and stuff, and even with the elderly, unfortunately family members can steal their medications and things like that. This is something that’s a public health epidemic that we need to do our part to help solve, said Dr. Christopher Gooch, Assosicate Director of EMStar at OVMC.

The bill also requires that practitioners recommend alternative pain management programs like physical therapy, occupational therapy, acupuncture, and even massage therapy. 

Insurance providers will have to cover 12 visits over 120 days when prescribed by a physician. 

Director of Rehabilitation at OVMC Shane Florence says these types of therapies are a long-term solution to pain, whereas opioids should only be used in the short term.

“I think it’s a fantastic idea. I believe in therapy. I know that it works. I’ve seen it work on numerous patients, and I’m glad that they’re taking this type of action,” said Florence.

If a practitioner were to violate the conditions of the new law, they may face disciplinary action.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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