A bill Rep. John Janigian (R-Rockingham) has put to the Legislature this year, HB 1574, would require patients and health care providers to sign a form before an opioid prescription. The form will explain the addictive nature of an opioid drug and encourage patients to choose a non-opioid alternative, if one is available.
NH’s addiction crisis
Opioid addiction, including the abuse of prescription drugs, is still a big problem in New Hampshire. Senate democrats recently urged Governor Chris Sununu to declare a state of emergency over the continuing addiction crisis in the Granite State, and allocate 10% of the state’s $10 million rainy day fund to help combat the problem.
How pain contracts could help
Supporters argue that by making both doctors and patients more aware of the risks of addiction, pain contracts may encourage them to use safer alternative treatments and prevent overuse of the drugs. More broadly, they hold that stricter regulations will help curb opioid abuse, reduce fatalities and decrease opioid addiction. This in turn will help lessen the economic burden on an already overtaxed healthcare system.
Current opioid abuse prevention policies are working
According to Gary Merchant, president of New Hampshire’s Board of Pharmacy, “2017 is projected to see a decrease in the number of overdoes-related deaths for the first time in five years.”
Opponents of an additional regulation argue that health care providers are already required to provide risk assessment and treatment information to patients before prescribing opioids. They argue that overregulation is not only unnecessary—it may prevent doctors from effectively treating patients.
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