Preventing Opioid Misuse, Abuse, and Diversion

The opioid abuse epidemic is growing across Massachusetts and the United States. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 80% of people who misuse prescription drugs are using pain medications prescribed to someone else. Dentists play a vital role in preventing the abuse and misuse of prescription medications. To help support members in this mission, the MDS is dedicated to sharing the latest information, news, resources, and tools.

Partial Prescriptions

With the growing attention on the opioid crises in the state, many patients are concerned about taking opioid substance Schedule II drugs for pain management. A new Massachusetts state law (M.G.L 94c s 18) gives patients the right to request a partial fill on a Schedule II drug to avoid having extra pills on hand. This means that if you prescribe a 5-day pain management script, a patient can ask the pharmacist to reduce the quantity to a shorter duration (e.g., 3-days). 

Dentists are required to have informed conversation with patients when prescribing Schedule II prescriptions to review why you have written the script for the suggested length and explain that they have the right to opt for a partial fill if desired. This may eliminate some of the concern surrounding the prescription. If a patient chooses to receive a partial fill, the remaining quantity would be void. A patient would need to come back to your office for an additional prescription if required. You should include the following on the prescription:"Partial Fill Upon Patient Request."

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