In response, state Medicaid may put in place dosing and quantity limits and ban the prescribing of more than two long-acting opioid painkillers at one time, said Judy Zerzan, the chief medical director for the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing.
A handful of other states have put in place similar restrictions, including Maine, which limits Medicaid patients to two weeks of painkillers a year, allowing renewal in two-week intervals under special circum-stances.
Colorado also will hire consultants to educate and train primary-care doctors on best pain-management protocols, similar to a program in New Mexico.
Colorado also has begun alerting Medicaid doctors and patients when high-risk prescribing patterns are detected.
"People need to realize that while there are those benefits in terms of pain control, there are potential harms, and people need to think about those and people need to know where to go for help if they have problems with addiction," Zerzan