Emergency Regulations Update

The State Board of Medical Examiners today, March 2nd, adopted emergency regulations to implement the new opioid prescribing limitations law recently signed into law by Governor Christie immediately.  Please note that you and your physician colleagues should immediately comply with these regulations.  Please find the emergency regulations here: http://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/bme/Documents/BME-Emergency-Adoption-and-Concurrent-Proposal.pdf.  In addition, please find an update to the bulletin we recently provided below. .  Again, the law’s prescribing requirements are now in effect.  These emergency rules are effective immediately and will remain in effect for 60 days, and are being concurrently proposed for readoption to permit the submission of comments concerning the rules and the intention of the Attorney General and Board to make these rules permanent. Comments may be submitted after March 20th when this rule is officially published.  We will remind you when that date approaches. contact us with any questions.




Please review this entire bulletin and share it with your physician colleagues so they can comply with this new state law as soon as possible.  Last month, Governor Chris Christie signed sweeping new legislation changing state law as to how and when opioid drugs may be prescribed.  The law has now taken effect via emergency regulations.  The bill was scheduled to take effect on May 16, 2017 but as we suspected the prescribing provisions are now in effect.  Under the new law and according to the emergency regulations, a practitioner is not permitted to issue an initial prescription for an opioid drug in a quantity exceeding a five-day supply for treatment of acute pain. We advise members to amend their opioid prescribing practices to comply with the law as soon as possible.


Prior to issuing such an initial prescription, a practitioner shall:

•             Discuss with the patient the risks associated with the drug, including risks of addiction and overdose;

•             Explain the reasons why the prescription is necessary;

•             Set forth available alternative treatments;

•             Take and document the results of a thorough medical history;

•             Conduct, as appropriate, a physical examination;

•             Develop a treatment plan focused on the patient’s pain;

•             Access relevant information from the Prescription Monitoring Program.

On the fourth day of an initial prescription a practitioner may, after consultation with the patient, issue a subsequent prescription for the opioid drug. In order to do so, the practitioner must determine that the subsequent prescription is: (i) necessary and appropriate; and (ii) will not present an undue risk of abuse, addiction or diversion.

If a third prescription is issued to a patient for an opioid, the practitioner is required to enter into a pain management agreement with the patient. Finally, any health care professional authorized to prescribe an opioid shall take part in at least one educational credit (in each reporting period) related to prescribing opioid drugs.

Written by Stephanie Summers