December 31, 2016

Prudent Prescribing: An Overview of Recent Federal and State Guidelines for Opioid Prescriptions

Patricia A. Markus and Ashley L. Thomas, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP, Raleigh, NC

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), opioid prescription sales have increased by 300 percent since 1999 without an overall change in pain reported by patients.1 Providers began prescribing large quantities of opioids in the 1990s following suggestions by pharmaceutical companies and some clinicians that they could safely be used to treat common conditions, such as chronic back pain. In 2012, healthcare providers wrote over 259 million opioid prescriptions, or the equivalent of one bottle of pills for every adult in the United States.2

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