A new law in West Virginia limits opioid prescriptions and allows patients to opt out of being prescribed opioids altogether.
The Opioid Reduction Act, or Senate Bill 273, was requested by Governor Jim Justice as a way of easing the burden for healthcare providers.
Under the new law, healthcare providers must now prescribe non-opioid treatments before suggesting prescription pain medicine.
“When you look at the limit and the availability of non opioid alternatives, that’s whats going to make a real difference,” West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrissey told 13 News.
He added, “We have to go after the root of the problem.”
While the law impacts patients and prescribers, it will also impact the pharmacists who fill the prescriptions.
David Bowyer is the Chair of the Department of Pharmacy Practice at the University of Charleston.
“I think it will lead to better communication between the pharmacist and the prescriber,” explained Bowyer. “Those details that we would maybe not focus on before, we need to start focusing on now.”