OLYMPIA, Washington – Washington state is now clamping down on opioid prescriptions. The pain medications are still available, but not in large numbers.
The Washington State Department of Health and task force members rolled out the new rules Monday in an effort to prevent addictions and deadly overdoses.
The new rules say those prescribing the medication need to first look for alternatives to opioids. Starting today, nurse practitioners can no longer regularly write 15-30 day prescriptions. Those must now be cut down to 7-14 days. Further, when patients come back for refills, they need to be checked for risky behavior that may show an addiction problem.
The state health department and task force members say an average of two people die every day in the state from an opioid overdose.
The new rules also urge patients to safely dispose of any left-over prescriptions, so they don’t fall into the wrong hands.
Doctors have to start following the new rules on January 1, 2019.