N.H. Docs Tell Lawmakers Leave Best Prescribing Practices to the Board of Medicine

Dec 10, 2015

The New Hampshire Medical Society told lawmakers that crafting best practices for prescribing opioids should be left to the medical community.  

Currently, lawmakers are considering a bill that would amend the guidelines by proposing certain dosage amounts and time limits. The proposal ranges from enforcing random urine testing for long-term opioid patients to creating a limit on doses given out during emergency room visits.

But Dr. Seddon Savage, who testified at the state’s drug task force Thursday, argued that if the recommendations become statue, the state's Board of Medicine, which regulates the conduct of physicians, would have no option but to enforce them. 

"And as we’ve heard, statue trumps rules, and so if the statue says they should include allowing no more than a five-day controlled substance prescription and the board were to disagree, this would have the force of law,” Savage testified.

Molly Rossingnol, a family doctor and addiction specialist in New Hampshire, agreed. “I think it [the bill] should again have more broad strokes rather than be so specific,” told lawmakers.

The task force will be voting early next week on what bills to fast-track when the legislative session begins in January.