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New Prescription Guidelines

A new set up rules regarding prescription painkillers went into affect Sunday. Doctors can prescribe no greater than 60 opioid pills or the equivalent to 15 milligrams of morphine.
Prescription drug abuse is an epidemic in the United States. Over 700 Hoosiers died in 2011 from overdose. Now health officials are working to curb the abuse with new regulations. The guidelines are meant to crack down on chronic drug dependency.

"We truly do have a problem with prescription drug abuse," said Donna Pruviance, a nurse practitioner at UAP Clinic.

Doctors can prescribe no greater than 60 opioid pills or the equivalent to 15 milligrams of morphine for three months. Opioids are medicines like Vicodin or Percocet. At the end of those three months, doctors have to do an assessment, have face-to-face visits and the patient has to sign an agreement to not share or sell the drugs.  You can only get the medicines from one doctor and can only fill the prescription at one pharmacy. Annual urine tests are also part of the new rules. The goal is to try to curb the number of pills available.

"A kid could come into your house and take it from your cabinet. You could have a friend who says 'Man my back is killing me' and you could share your medication with them and say 'Hey take one of these it might help.' That's really what they're trying to do is they're trying to get a number of pills off of the streets," said Purviance.

State officials have already thought of a way to monitor and track the prescriptions. It's called the Indiana Inspection Program.

"Every time a prescription medication which is a legend drug schedule 2, 3, 4, 5 is filled within one of the pharmacies in the state they are required by law to then report that to the state level," Purviance said.

The reports are monitored by the Drug Task Force and the Drug Enforcement Agency. Not following the rules could get a doctor's license taken away and land both the prescriber and the patient in jail.

There are some exclusions to this new rule. Those are patients with terminal illnesses, those in nursing homes and hospice.

Click here to for more information on the new rules.
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