Colorado lawmakers act on opioid crisis, but advocates say it’s not enough raid 0 data recovery software

Five of the bills poised for passage originated in a special General Assembly study committee formed to analyze the issue in 2017. The package would address the shortage of health care professionals in certain areas, spend $2.5 million on prevention programs, streamline coverage regulations for those seeking help and pursue federal approval to expand Medicaid to cover residential drug treatment programs.

A recent report from the nonprofit National Safety Council determined Colorado is lagging other states in its efforts to address opioid abuse. And this year’s legislation still failed to meet prescribing guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Under the legislation, a new initial opioid prescription is limited to a seven-day supply and may include a refill.


But the limits do not apply to patients with chronic pain or cancer, or those who undergo surgery, palliative or hospice care.

The doctor decides whether the limits are applicable to a patient, and a late amendment to the bill made clear that only repeated failures to comply are punishable by the medical boards. Other language added to the bill would give doctors protections from lawsuits involving overprescribing.

But a handful of states, including Florida and Kentucky, limit initial prescriptions to three to five days, according to the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures, based in Denver. The shorter time period is based on CDC data that show the potential for long-term use or addiction increases substantially after that period.

Dr. Robert Valuck, the director of the Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention, said the research is not clear what limits work best. But the lower quantities of pills would help prevent misuse that starts with leftover medication.

“The No. 1 place people start misusing and ultimately abusing and becoming addicted – most people start with leftovers that are someone else’s in the medicine cabinet,” he said. “So it’s an attempt to clamp down on it.” Colorado’s medical community split on the bill

One additional change the experts wanted to see: Mandating that doctors or their assistants check the state’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Database, a tool designed to help prevent doctor shopping and identify potential abuse. More than 30 states require a mandatory check and often on the initial prescription, according to researchers at Brandeis University.

But Colorado’s legislation only requires that doctors check the database for the refill of a prescription. And it includes exemptions for prescriptions made at hospitals, skilled nursing facilities and prisons, as well as exclusions for patients not subject to the seven-day limit.

The state’s Medical Society, an extension of the American Medical Association, blocked attempts to implement tougher prescription limits and a mandatory database check, a move that split from other health care advocates including the Colorado Dental Association and the Colorado Pharmacists Society.

Stader, who testified to lawmakers on behalf of the Medical Society, said the database “is not the end-all of the opioid epidemic” and suggested the system is so difficult to operate that doctors wouldn’t prescribe the correct medication to avoid using it.

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