Indiana Endorses Guidelines For ER Opioid Prescriptions

Jun 22, 2016

Credit HCC Public Information Office /

Indiana health officials are endorsing a new set of guidelines for emergency departments prescribing opioids for acute pain.

The Governor’s Task Force on Drug Enforcement, Treatment and Prevention voted Tuesday to help the Indiana State Medical Association and the Indiana Hospital Association — which wrote the guidelines — distribute the information to the state’s emergency rooms.

Guidance includes when an emergency room doctor should prescribe a painkiller, to whom a doctor should give the medicine and how large a prescription is appropriate.

Indiana State Medical Association Government Relations Director Mike Rinebold says the rules are meant for educational, not punitive, purposes, and aren’t codified. However, he says almost all emergency rooms are members of the hospital association and are expected to follow the guidelines.

“This will be geared toward every hospital to accept and follow and update any current practices and protocols they may have in place and just to compare the two and update if need be.”

Among other directives, the guidelines say that except in rare circumstances, emergency doctors should limit opioids to a five-day supply and be wary of replacing drugs that may have been lost or stolen.