Incorrect Reporting on New Opioid Rules

April 10, 2016

The AP story published by NHPR and other media has incorrectly interpreted and reported on the new opioid prescribing rules. There are currently no limits “to prescribe opioids that are the equivalent of 100 milligrams of morphine daily.” In fact, the NH Board of Medicine rules ask physicians and PAs prescribing opioids only to document that they have considered consulting an appropriate specialist when a patient receives a 100 mg morphine equivalent daily dose for longer than 90 days. The specific language in the new opioid prescribing rules  is as follows:

“(h) Document the consideration of a consultation with an appropriate specialist in the following circumstances:

When the patient receives a 100 mg morphine equivalent daily dose for longer than 90 days, or

When a patient is at high risk for abuse or addiction; or

When a patient has a co-morbid psychiatric disorder.”

It is important for the AP, NHPR and other media organizations to correct this misrepresentation as it unnecessarily alarms patients and makes more difficult the complex and individual nature of prescribing the lowest effective dosage of opioids for chronic pain conditions. 

New Hampshire Medical Society has been in contact with the Board of Medicine who is preparing a press release to correct this misinformation.  We continue to work closely with them on this matter; and they have been very appreciative of the Medical Society’s efforts.  It is likely that the rules will be considered by JLCAR late next week.  The article printed in the Union Leader was correct.