Dept. Of Health Pitches New Limits On Prescribing Opioids As Painkillers

Oct 19, 2016

The Vermont Department of Health unveiled a new proposal Wednesday that will limit the amount of opioid painkillers doctors can prescribe.

The new restrictions are designed to lower the amount of the drugs in circulation in Vermont and rein in the over-prescribing of the addictive drugs.

For minor procedures, that means 10 to 12 pills in the first prescription.

Health Commissioner Harry Chen said without rules in place, health care providers vary widely in how much they prescribe after simple procedures, like wisdom teeth removal, for example.

That can mean too many pills that could lead to addiction or overdose.

"In 2015, we prescribed enough opioids," Chen says, "to provide every man, woman and child [in Vermont] with a bottle of 100 pills of oxycodone."

Chen says the proposed rules were developed with input from health care providers, and allow doctors flexibility to meet patient needs.

The hope is that new rules will lead to closer monitoring of patients using opiate drugs.