New Opioid Prescription Regulations Cause Headaches for Rural Docs

Mar 23, 2016

Credit fda.gov

Many states have recently limited prescriptions for opioids, after an increase in overdose deaths has rocked rural America. But the new opioid limits are putting small town doctors in an unenviable position. Physicians must now refuse to prescribe painkillers to patients who actually need them, reports The Rural Blog.

A large part of the problem is that rural areas lack prevention services for opiate addiction, according to a CDC study from December. One physician in rural Milford, Neb., noted: “I have a patient with inoperable spinal stenosis who needs to be able to keep chopping wood to heat his home. A one-size-fits-all prescription algorithm just doesn’t fit him. But I have to comply.”

The solution appears to be less enacting stringent rules for opioid prescriptions, paired with more addiction prevention and education in rural areas.