Law limiting opioid prescriptions signed in West Virginia

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia’s governor has signed legislation to limit opioid prescriptions that doctors can prescribe to treat acute pain.

Gov. Jim Justice on Tuesday signed the bill that would limit such prescriptions to supplies lasting three, four or seven days, depending on who writes them.

It would also establish protocols for treating chronic pain and coordinate reporting between the state’s pharmacy board and physician licensing boards to flag excessive prescriptions.

The law is effective June 7.

Pain medications for chronic pain patients, long-term cancer and hospice patients, or those in a nursing home or other long-term care facility, are unaffected.

West Virginia leads the nation by far in the rate of drug overdose deaths. West Virginia had 872 fatal overdoses last year and a state-record 887 — a rate of 52 per 100,000 residents — in 2016.

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