Federal and State Regulation of Opioids

Federal and state policy governing opioids is considered to achieve balance between efforts to control drug abuse and maintain drug availability for legitimate medical purposes. Federal law declares the essential medical value of many drugs that are controlled substances, and states that opioids may be used for extended periods in treatment of patients with uncontrollable pain. Physicians should report opioid-dependent patients to the government, regulate prescribing of Schedule II opioids more strictly, and limit the quantity of controlled substances that may be prescribed at one time. Recommendations are offered to revise state laws and to improve communication between health care professionals and regulators.

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