New! Summary of NC’s new opioids law, the STOP Act
Today Gov. Roy Cooper signed a new law aimed at curbing misuse and abuse of opioids. The Strengthen Opioid Misuse Prevention (STOP) Act of 2017, or STOP Act, is intended to reduce the supply of unused, misused and diverted opioids circulating in NC, reduce “doctor shopping” and improve care by requiring prescribers to use tools and resources that help prevent inappropriate prescribing. NCMB supported passage of the STOP Act.
The Board has prepared a summary that highlights key aspects of the law, and includes effective dates for each provision. Some key provisions of the STOP Act include:
* Limits on the number of days worth of opioids that may be lawfully prescribed upon initial consultation for acute injuries (no more than a five day supply allowed) and following surgeries (no more than a seven day supply allowed). The STOP Act does NOT limit the amount of opioids that may be prescribed to a chronic pain patient;
* A requirement that prescribers use the NC Controlled Substances Reporting System (NCCSRS), the prescription database that records all controlled substance prescriptions dispensed in outpatient pharmacies across NC. The STOP Act requires prescribers to review the patient’s 12-month history with the NCCSRS before issuing an initial prescription for a Schedule II or Schedule III opioid, and subsequent reviews every three months thereafter, for as long as the patient continues on the drug;
* A requirement that PAs and NPs practicing at pain clinics consult with their supervising physicians prior to prescribing opioids. NOTE: The Board has not determined how it will define “consult”. The most important thing is that a meaningful consultation about the patient and recommended treatment occurs and is documented in the medical record; the Board may ultimately leave it up to PAs, NPs and their supervisors to determine exactly how consultations occur, consistent with its current approach towards physician supervision of PAs and NPs.