New York to Limit Prescription Pain Medications to One Week for Acute Pain
Late yesterday, Gov. Andrew signed a new law which will effectively limit prescription pain medications to 7 days following the initial patient visit. It’s one of four measures that lawmakers are initiating to combat the nationwide opioid and heroin addiction epidemic
Other changes will require insurers to cover the initial inpatient drug treatment without prior approval. Also, persons needing emergency treatment may be involuntarily held for 72 hours versus 48 hours. Twenty-five hundred addiction treatment slots will be added statewide.
Cuomo, at a gathering in Buffalo:
“It’s not just what people are going through today. What’s most frightening is the exponential increase in the numbers. Ten years ago we had about six deaths. Now we have about 100 every year in Erie County.”
Cuomo further noted that overdose deaths from prescription pain medications and heroin have come close to matching the number of deaths during the AIDS epidemic. He went out to say that it has been a “nightmare” for families and parents of young persons affected by addiction or dying from overdoses.
“I think probably the most unnatural pain in life is the loss of a child.”
He told the group in Buffalo group that his own daughter was given a 30-day supply of prescription pain medications after having her tonsils out – far more than anyone would need for that procedure. Cuomo later headed to Long Island and Staten Island make similar addresses.
About the New Measures
The law will go into effect in 30 days, and will limit the initial prescription pain medication for acute pain to 7 days. That’s a huge decrease from 30 days. Refills and renewals may be considered upon additional consultant. Chronic pain, and hospice care are exceptions. Early this year, Massachusetts enacted a similar law.
New York’s new law also requires insurance companies to cover inpatient services in their networks for detoxi and rehabi without pre-authorization during the first 14 days of inpatient treatment. The only provision is that the company is notified within 48 hours of admission.
The measure signed by Cuomo on June 23 will create 270 more treatment beds, as well as 2,335 additional program slots.
According to New York health officials, emergency room visits related to opioid overdoses increased by 73% between 2010-2014.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 1999-2014 over 165,000 Americans died from prescription opioid overdoses. In 2014 alone there were 14,000, and 2 million others were addicted to or abused prescription pain medications.
This year, New York has set aside almost $200 million through the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services to address the epidemic. Included in that number is $66 million for residential treatment beds and coulseling and support for around 8,000 persons. An additional $38 million will be allocated for medication-assisted treatment for 12,000 persons in residential or outpatient treatment.
~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology