CDC Issues New Guidelines for Opioid Prescriptions


As the rates of drug abuse–and more directly opioid abuse–continue to grow in West Virginia, new federal guidelines could help cut down on the number of prescribed opioids.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have released new guidelines for doctors who prescribe opioids for chronic pain. The guidelines advise primary care doctors to cut down on the number of prescriptions of medicines like OxyContin and Percocet and try to find other means to treat the pain—pushing them to look toward more holistic care methods. The guidelines aren’t intended for doctors treating cancer patients or for end-of-life care.

Primary care doctors prescribe half the opioid painkillers consumed in the United States and according to the CDC, 1 in 4 patients with chronic pain can experience opioid dependence.  

Last month Senator’s Shelley Moore Capito and Kirsten Gillibrand from New York introduced legislation requiring the CDC to issue guidelines for prescribing opioids for acute pain, such as pain following a broken bone, wisdom tooth extraction or other surgeries. The CDC began working on the guidelines released Tuesday last year.