Published by Reason

A bill sponsored by Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) would impose a nationwide limit of three days on initial prescriptions of opioids for acute pain. “People are dying around the country every single day because patients are being prescribed too many opioid pills at one time,” Portman’s spokesman tells The Daily Beast’s Jackie Kucinich. “A three-day limit is common sense, based on CDC guidelines, and Senator Portman is going to stand up and fight for what is right.”

In reality, Portman is fighting for what is wrong, both factually and morally, because a three-day limit is not common sense, it is not based on CDC guidelines, and it is not sound medicine. As Jeffrey Singer notes on the Cato Institute’s blog, the American Medical Association for once is taking the right position on federal meddling with health care by opposing Portman’s bill. In a statement quoted by Kucinich, the doctors’ organization says:

A strict three-day limit ignores the admonition from the CDC guideline that “Clinical decision making should be based on a relationship between the clinician and patient, and an understanding of the patient’s clinical situation, functioning, and life context,” misstates the actual recommendation of the CDC, and applies limits to clinical situations to which they were not intended to be applied. Limits and one-size-fits-all approaches will not end this epidemic.

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