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Clinical Practice For Opioid Prescribing

Concerning clinical practice measures for safer opioid prescribing.
2018 Regular Session
Health Care & Health Insurance
Bill Summary

Health care practitioners - prescriptive authority - opioids - prescribing restrictions - required use of prescription drug monitoring program - report - repeal. The act restricts the number of opioid pills that a health care practitioner, including physicians, physician assistants, advanced practice nurses, dentists, optometrists, podiatrists, and veterinarians, may prescribe for an initial prescription to a 7-day supply and allows each health care practitioner to exercise discretion to include a second fill for a 7-day supply. The limit on initial prescribing does not apply if, in the judgment of the health care practitioner, the patient:

  • Has chronic pain that typically lasts longer than 90 days or past the time of normal healing, as determined by the health care practitioner, or following transfer of care from another practitioner who prescribed an opioid to the patient;
  • Has been diagnosed with cancer and is experiencing cancer-related pain; or
  • Is experiencing post-surgical pain that, because of the nature of the procedure, is expected to last more than 14 days.

Additionally, a physician, a physician assistant, and an advanced practice nurse is not subject to the prescription limits if the patient is undergoing palliative or hospice care. The restrictions on opioid prescriptions repeal on September 1, 2021.

The act requires a health care practitioner to indicate his or her specialty or practice area upon making an initial query to the prescription drug monitoring program and to query the program prior to prescribing the second fill for an opioid unless the person receiving the prescription meets certain requirements.

The act requires the department of public health and environment to report to the general assembly its findings from studies regarding the prescription drug monitoring program conducted pursuant to a federal grant program. The act also requires the department to forward its findings to the center for research into substance use disorder prevention, treatment, and recovery support strategies at the university of Colorado health sciences center for training purposes.

(Note: This summary applies to this bill as enacted.)


Became Law


Bill Text

Pursuant to HJR20-1007, the Second Regular Session of the 72nd General Assembly is Temporarily Adjourned until 10:00 a.m., Monday, March 30, 2020. 

COVID-19 Resources

Temporary Guidelines for Review and Comment Meetings

The legislature will meet in limited session on Monday, March 30th. The Capitol will be open for the duration of the session for those with essential business related to the session. The building will not be available for public tours. People without essential business are encouraged to access the session through the General Assembly website and Colorado Channel.  Anybody with essential business related to the session will be required to practice appropriate social distancing measures.