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Medical Board Rejects Changes to Opioid Prescribing Rules Sought By Hassan

New Hampshire’s medical board adopted emergency rules for opioid prescribers Wednesday, but rejected many of the changes sought by Gov. Maggie Hassan.

The rules take effect Friday and require doctors and nurses to use an “evidence-based screening tool” to assess patients’ risk of abuse, and to provide information on how to dispose of unused medication. 

The changes were approved after several providers told the board in a public hearing that tougher requirements sought by Gov. Hassan would make it harder for patients with acute and chronic pain to find care.

The governor asked the board in September for emergency rules to cut down on overprescribing of opioids. A draft proposal that included dosage limits and a mandate to check patients' prescription history drew strong opposition from emergency room physicians and others, including the New Hampshire Medical Society.

Board members agreed to appoint a working group to draft permanent rules that will include some of the provisions sought by the governor. The permanent rules could take effect next April.

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