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[ATG] Workshop educates Bloomington physicians on new opioid prescribing rule
Start Date: 4/11/2014Start Time: 12:00 AM
End Date: 4/11/2014
Entry Description

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Indiana’s Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Task Force hosted a workshop today at Indiana University Health Bloomington to help physicians navigate the state’s new rules for prescribing addictive pain medication.

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller, co-chair of the task force, joined IU Health Bloomington Director of Pharmacy and Clinical Informatics Michael Melby in emphasizing the importance of the new rules and their impact on the state’s prescription drug abuse epidemic. A recent study by Trust for America’s Health revealed the number of deaths caused by overdoses in Indiana has quadrupled since 1999.

“Today’s workshop is one of many taking place across the state to help ensure physicians understand and comply with the new prescribing rule adopted by the Medical Licensing Board,” Zoeller said. “The new rule addresses the prescribing of pain medication for patients who have chronic, non-terminal pain in hopes of stemming the tides of addiction, doctor shopping and overprescribing.”

“Pharmacists agree that care coordination and collaboration must be improved in order to combat the serious public health issue of prescription drug abuse and diversion. Such collaboration is essential to ensuring that this public health problem is addressed while at the same time ensuring that patients continue to receive responsible and effective patient care,” Melby said. “Pharmacists join with their physician colleagues to address the prescription drug abuse epidemic by evaluating and suggesting options for the safe and responsible treatment of chronic pain, including prescriptions for opioids when indicated, with the ultimate goals of patient safety and functional improvement.”

Last year, the Indiana General Assembly passed legislation which charged the Medical Licensing Board with developing new rules regarding prescribing controlled substances and strengthening the authority of the Attorney General’s office to inspect physician records in overprescribing cases. The two emergency rules stem in part from recommendations made by the task force. 

Zoeller said the prescribing rule aims to ensure patients are well informed about their prescriptions and physicians closely monitor patients to identify cases of misuse and abuse. Physicians are now required to monitor certain patient’s history via the state’s drug monitoring system called INSPECT which reveals what controlled substances have been prescribed to a patient. Zoeller said this check can prevent someone from “doctor shopping” or obtaining multiple prescriptions for the same drug from different physicians.

In November, the task force launched a toolkit designed to help the state’s physicians navigate new rules for prescribing addictive pain medication. The task force in partnership with the Indiana State Medical Association developed the toolkit titled, “First Do No Harm: The Indiana Healthcare Providers Guide to the Safe, Effective Management of Chronic Non-Terminal Pain.” The provider toolkit is based on expert opinion and recognized standards of care, with input from healthcare providers representing multiple specialties from all corners of the state.  

Zoeller said the growing number of cases involving licensed health professionals caught diverting drugs, overprescribing or fraudulently writing prescriptions is one reason he created the Prescription Drug Abuse Taskforce in 2012. The task force is made up of state legislators, law enforcement, health officials, pharmacists, state and local agencies and education providers.

Last year, Zoeller launched a statewide public awareness campaign and a website,, to serve as a one-stop-shop for consumers looking for information about prescription drug abuse and where to find help.




Contact Information:
Name: Erin Reece
Phone: 317.232.0168
Entry Type:
Press Release
Entry Category:
  • Announcements
  • Category:
  • Education
  • Family & Health
  • Government
  • Residents
  • Agency Name
    Attorney General

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