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Efforts to reduce access to opioid medications for acute pain have varied greatly from state to state, in spite of President Trump’s declaration that related addiction and deaths constitute a public health emergency. Now, a bipartisan bill just introduced in Congress would impose a national policy if it passes, restricting prescriptions for opioids for acute pain to 3 days (ample for the urgent care setting). Significantly, the bill would also authorize adding $1 billion to subsidies for the addiction treatment industry. The CARA 2.0 Act is sponsored by four Republicans and four Democrats and is intended to be a follow-up to the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016. As written, CARA 2.0 would exempt patients with chronic pain and cancer, as well as those in hospice and palliative care. It is not clear how the 3-day limit would apply to patients recovering from surgery or for those whose pain lasts longer than 3 days. However, the bill would require physicians to consult their state’s prescription drug monitoring database before writing a prescription for a controlled substance.

Bill Would Restrict Opioid Prescriptions for Acute Pain to 3 Days Nationally
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