Maryland governor proposes opioid prescription restrictions

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) put forth a set of legislative proposals on Jan. 24 designed to curb the rising rates of opioid-related deaths in the state. Among the proposals is a measure that would limit the duration of first-time opioid prescriptions to seven days each, subject to renewal, according to The Washington Post.

The prescription limit — which would make exceptions for cancer-related pain, terminal illness and the treatment of a substance-abuse disorder — follows the CDC's new guidelines for painkiller prescription issued in March 2016. The guidelines explain opioid prescriptions lasting three days or less are often sufficient for the treatment of acute pain and that more than seven days' worth of medication is rarely be needed.

"Marylanders from one end of the state to the other know the devastation that heroin and opioid abuse can cause," said Gov. Hogan in a statement on the legislative proposal. "It's under the surface of every community, and we decided we were going to shine a spotlight on this, to try to find as many possible solutions as we could."

In the first nine months of 2016, heroin killed 918 people in Maryland, marking a substantial increase from the 534 deaths recorded for the same time frame in 2015, according to the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

More articles on opioids: 
Surging opioid deaths leads to overflow at Ohio coroner's office 
Opioids now 'painkiller of last resort' for UK Healthcare 
Connecticut lawmakers: Dealers should be 'criminally liable' for fatal opioid overdoses

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