New Opioid Perscription Guidelines


There is an Opioid crisis in the United States. Opioids are a class of drugs that include prescription medications, like oxycodone and morphine, and illicit drugs, like heroin. These drugs are highly addictive. Ingestion of high doses can lead to accidental overdosing and death.

A lot of attention is now being focused on how these controlled medications are prescribed. As a result of this, and our concern for your safety, we are making sweeping changes in how we prescribe and monitor these medications and we want you to be aware.

In accordance with the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and Oregon Health Authority (OHA), we have developed guidelines for both acute and chronic prescribing of opioids. The purpose of these guidelines is to help your provider manage your pain with the lowest amount of associated risk.

Acute Pain: Opioids can be useful in managing acute pain; however, studies have shown that with prolonged use, the risk of addiction or dependency increases quickly. When you come to your provider for treatment of acute pain, they will attempt to find a low risk treatment option for you. When there is an indication to use an opioid, the lowest effective dose will be given, for a period of up to only three days. If pain management is required for an extended period of time, your provider will need to see you for reevaluation.

Chronic Pain: Opioids are not as useful in managing chronic pain, as the effectiveness wanes with prolonged use, while the risk of addiction or dependency remains. As a result, if you have chronic pain, your provider will attempt to find alternative methods of treating your pain; they may seek a second opinion regarding your care. If it is determined that opioids will be part of your chronic pain management, your provider will review the risks with you and have you sign a pain contract. This conversation and contract will help you to understand the risks associated with this treatment, as well as the guidelines regarding chronic use. The new guideline for long-term use requires you to meet with your provider every three months to review the effectiveness of treatment and evaluate for adverse effects.

If you have any questions about these changes, please feel free to talk to your provider at your next appointment.