Shumlin announces opiate prescription limits - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Shumlin announces opiate prescription limits

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The next time you have a medical procedure, your doctor may prescribe you fewer painkillers.

Wednesday, Governor Peter Shumlin, D-Vermont, and the health department announced a first-of-its-kind proposal to set opiate prescription limits saying it would make Vermont the "most restrictive state in the country" for getting drugs.

Under the new rules, minor procedures would only receive 9 to 12 pills or about three days' worth of medication on the initial visit.

Larger procedures would have no more than a seven-day supply. Doctors would be able to prescribe more later if it's needed.

Chronic pain would be at the discretion of the prescribing physician.

"I would argue that minor procedures are the culprit for most of the abuse in our system, no patient will suffer because of these rules," said Shumlin.

"This is a wonderful step, and when we look at ourselves nationally, we are at the front of the class, even if the front of the class isn't doing very well," said Rep. Anne Pugh, D-South Burlington.

Officials admit that getting doctors to change their prescribing habits will be a challenge.

Under the new rules, there will also be more patient education and consent about opiate use and more sharing of data between nearby states. The rules will be finalized in December.

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