Las Vegas Sun

October 21, 2018

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Health officials outline new law to combat opioid abuse

CARSON CITY — A law to prevent the over-prescribing of opioids to patients goes into effect Jan. 1.

Dr. Dan Burkhead of a pain center in Las Vegas says doctors “writing prescriptions month after month” must now inform the patient of alternative treatments, which should bolster the patient-doctor relationship. He spoke today at a briefing on the new law.

Mike Willden, chief of staff for Gov. Brian Sandoval, told reporters there is an opioid crisis in Nevada.

The law is one of 57 passed by the 2017 Legislature. It requires a practitioner, before prescribing an opioid drug, to review the medical history of the patient, assess their mental health and determine the risk of abuse and addiction.

The law, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services, requires a doctor who prescribes an opioid for more than 90 days to diagnose the cause of the pain and determine the risk of abuse.

The department says a physician should not prescribe an opioid to someone who has already received a supply for a year, unless there is a review of the patient’s medical records.