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Doctors Weigh-In on Proposed Opioid Prescribing Rules
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Mississippi State Board of Medical Licensure Meeting
Desare Frazier

Mississippi Medical providers are weighing-in on newly proposed rules to combat opioid abuse.

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Doctors and associations are concerned about rules proposed by the Governor's Opioid and Heroin Task Force. The rules include: checking the state's prescription monitoring website when prescribing opioids, ordering only a 7 day supply at a time and drug testing patients. Dr. Walter Shelton is an orthopaedic surgeon.

"We don't need to increase the paperwork burden and the regulatory burden on the people who are out there on the front lines taking care of people with acute pain," said Shelton.

Surgeries, broken bones and pain management are some of the cases doctors say require flexibility in prescribing opioids.  The Mississippi State Board of Medical Licensure held a hearing so medical providers could weigh-in on the issue.  Dr. Bill Grantham with the Mississippi State Medical Association says checking the prescription monitoring website and limiting opioids to 7 days at at time would identify problems and reduce abuse. He says cost is an issue. 

"More doctors visits, many times possibly appropriate. Some of the other measures would require additional testing be done and who pays for that? Many of the insurers don't pay for it. Would out state Medicaid program pay for it?

State Health Officer Dr. Mary Currier says more than 200,000 people are on opioids for chronic pain; many are addicted. She says a plan is needed to help them.

"With a decrease in opioids to the people who are already addicted , we'll see an increase in heroin deaths and in HIV and Hepatitis C," said Currier.

The rules would also place limits on Benzodiazepines which are used for anxiety. The chair of the state board of medical licensure says they will fine tune the rules using input from the hearing.