Federal Legislation Would Permit Partial Filling of Opioid Prescriptions; AAFP Offers Opioid Abuse Resources


With the goal of limiting unused painkillers in the U.S., bipartisan legislation was recently introduced in the U.S. House and Senate that would, if passed, amend the Controlled Substances Act to allow for the partial filling of opioid prescriptions at the request of patients or physicians. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than 70% of adults who misuse prescription opioids get them from friends or relatives.

Under the Reducing Unused Medication Act of 2016, pharmacists would be required to notify physicians when prescriptions are partially filled, and partially filled prescriptions would not be allowed past the date that the full prescription would have run out. Read more.

At the state level, the Michigan House Health Policy Committee is scheduled to consider House Bill 5326, introduced by Representative Anthony Forlini (R-Harrison Township) on April 9, would allow pharmacists to dispense opioid antagonists pursuant to a standing order. MAFP supports this bill.

Meanwhile, through its work to help combat the dual epidemic of pain and the abuse and misuse of opioids, the AAFP has developed a Pain Management and Opioid Abuse Toolkit. Included in the toolkit are office-based tools to support patient care strategies, data and resources for collaborating with community-based organizations, information on advocacy efforts, and evidence-based knowledge and education.

The AAFP is also working with the American Medical Association through its Task Force to Reduce Opioid Abuse. The Task Force has developed a physician-education handout on the use of Naloxone, and a resource to educate physicians on the stigma associated with substance use disorder.   

Several sessions at the upcoming 2016 Michigan Family Medicine Annual Conference & Expo in Bay City (July 11-14) will address pain management. David Walsworth, MD, FAAFP (East Lansing), will discuss the appropriate pharmacological and/or non-pharmacological therapy based on patient characteristics; how to engage patients in conversation about their pain; and using shared decision-making to develop individualized pain management plans based on current evidence and guidelines. His session will take place July 11 at 10:15-11:15 a.m.

Thomas Palmer, MD (Plymouth) will discuss optimizing the treatment of pain by maximizing the placebo effect. Research shows that, through psychological and neurobiological mechanisms, placebos can relieve pain. His session will take place on July 13 at 1:35-2:20 p.m. Click here for more information about the Annual Conference and to register online.