Virginia board creates new opioid prescription guidelines

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia's Board of Medicine has approved new guidelines that will give it permission to specifically regulate the prescribing of opioids for pain.

Media outlets report the board voted on the regulations Thursday. They'll go into effect after receiving the governor's signature. The decision was made in response to the state's ongoing opioid epidemic.

The regulations dictate how many opioids can be prescribed depending on the situation, and stipulate that other pain treatments should be considered before opioids are prescribed.

Providers must do a thorough physical examination and determine the patient's history before prescribing opioids. The patient must also be given the overdose-reversal drug, Naloxone.

Ralston King of the Medical Society of Virginia says the guidelines were made to be complex to "ensure that patients don't turn to street drugs."

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