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By Erin Smith

New rules are set to take effect on Monday, January 1st, regarding the way in which doctors can prescribe painkillers.

As part of the state’s battle against opioid abuse, the North Carolina General Assembly passed the Strengthen Opioid Misuse Prevention (STOP) Act earlier this year. This act places new limits on the length of time doctors can prescribe for certain drugs.

According to the North Carolina Medical Board, the STOP Act prevents doctors from prescribing pain killers for more than five days for pain for such things as surgical procedures or automobile accidents. Doctors can prescribe refills, however, as they deem appropriate for their patients.

The STOP Act’s new restrictions do not apply to medications being utilized for the treatment of chronic pain or in hospitals or nursing homes.

Other provisions of the STOP Act include reporting all prescriptions to the state’s controlled substance database. The act also requires physician’s assistants to consult with a supervising physician before prescribing certain controlled substances.

The Bladen County Board of Commissioners voted recently to join a lawsuit against the pharmaceutical industry whom many say bears the blame for the opioid epidemic.

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