Prescription Drug Legislation

I believe that addressing the problem of adequately treating pain, while at the same time trying to stop misuse of prescription pain medications, is something that the legislature can try to solve, but I am afraid legislation is more likely to cause harm than help.  Currently, health care providers are very worried about the consequences of their prescribing controlled substances, even when in their medical judgment it is the right thing to do. The state of Washington recently passed very strict legislation, limited the amount of prescription pain medication that can be prescribed and requiring that patient being prescribed more be referred to a pain specialist.  Note, there are only a handful of pain specialists in the whole state.  Some physicians offices have signs on display “I don’t prescribe opioids”.  This makes no more sense to me than a sign that says “I don’t prescribe insulin” or “I don’t prescribe steroids”.  I hope this does not happen in Massachusetts as it has had a chilling effect on prescribing practices in Washington.

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