New laws for opiate prescriptions take effect in Michigan on Friday

Posted at 12:47 PM, May 31, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-31 13:57:30-04

If you rely on opiates to treat your chronic pain, get ready for changes to how you get your prescription. Beginning Friday, June 1, new laws, signed by Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, will go into effect to address opioid abuse.

Dr. Michelle Schrieber is the chief quality officer for Henry Ford Health System, and said that they have been prepping for the new rules for months.

Going orward, before any patient is prescribed more than a 3-day supply of a controlled substance, doctors need to first consult a state database that tracks a patient's medication history.

"The reason for that is to see whether or not there is risk for the patient, that they are taking too many opioids or controlled substances, or maybe that they’re being prescribed by multiple providers," Schrieber said.

Checking the database is mandatory, and so is a new education program requiring doctors to talk to their patients about things like the dangers of opioid addition, and how to safely dispose of unused opiates. That’ll likely make doctors visits a little longer, but health officials say it’s worth it. 

For patients suffering from acute pain—the kind that will resolve in weeks or months—doctors won’t be allowed to prescribe more than seven days of a controlled substance at a time, rather than the normal 30 day course. If a patient is still in pain once the 7 days are up, doctors can renew the prescription, but only after speaking with the patient in person or by phone. 

That 7-day cap acute pain prescription won't begin until July 1. We should note, officials at Henry Ford say they've already instituted tighter restrictions when it comes to prescribing opiates, and they've seen results. Since 2016, the number of opiates prescribed has fallen nearly 20 percent.

Check out this FAQ sheet from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

New prescription opioid laws take effect Friday by WXYZ-TV Channel 7 Detroit on Scribd