By JEFFREY BECKMANUS, Associated PressHealth officials in several states have warned patients and caregivers that they may be at risk of overdosing on prescription painkillers that are often prescribed to treat chronic pain.
Medical examiners and health departments have been warning people about the potential for opioid overdose, which has increased by nearly 30% since 2000.
But in the United States, doctors are generally not allowed to prescribe drugs with opioids in them, and some states have passed laws that require them to do so.
And doctors who refuse to give opioids to patients or caregivers can face fines.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that there are more than 100,000 people in the U.S. who have a chronic condition that requires them to take opioid medications.
About half of those are under age 25.
“We’re seeing the emergence of opioid-related problems that are causing significant health risks,” said Dr. Thomas Glynn, director of the CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.
The new rules are not expected to affect doctors who prescribe the opioids themselves, but they could make it harder for them to make good choices about what to prescribe.
Some experts say the rules could have an impact.
The rule change is not a major change, but it is an improvement over the previous one, said Dr