The Health and Human Services Committee heard a bill this week that modifies the prescribing and administering criteria for the use of controlled substances when treating a diagnosed condition that cause intractable pain. The CDC and Minnesota Legislature established guidelines in 2016 to reduce inappropriate opiate prescriptions. These changes reduced the opioid dispensing rate across the country, but an unintended consequence of these guidelines left many individuals suffering from chronic pain without the care and treatment they need.
Current prescribing guidelines focus on morphine milligram equivalent (MME) dosage amounts; this has concerned doctors as they could face civil or criminal liability for prescribing above the specified dosages. This also impacts patients who can experience serious and harmful side effects if their medications are tapered to reach these dosage levels. Some doctors, fearing legal repercussions, have stopped treating chronic pain patients altogether. The bill would amend these guidelines, making sure doctors can use patient-centered practices for those suffering from severe, chronic pain.
The CDC and other states are taking another look at updating prescribing guidelines so that patients suffering from chronic and intractable pain patients have access to the care they need. This bill would offer a necessary balance to protect against overprescribing of opioids, while making sure individuals receive the relief they require. (SF 3566)