New York Sets 7-Day Limit on Initial Opioid Prescriptions


Opioid drug prescriptions will be limited to seven days of painkillers following a patient’s initial visit to a doctor under a new law signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo Wednesday.

Changes to the law also require insurers to cover initial inpatient drug treatment without prior approval; extend from 48 to 72 hours the time someone can be held for emergency treatment; and add 2,500 addiction-treatment slots statewide.

Opioid-related emergency rooms visits in the state increased 73 percent during the years 2010 to 2014, according to state health officials. There were 952 deaths in 2013, the most recent year for which figures were available.

The law, effective in 30 days, limits initial prescriptions for acute pain to seven days, down from 30 days, with refills or renewals after further consultations. There are exceptions for chronic pain and palliative care.