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New OARRS Law Requires OARRS Registration, Checks Before Opioid Prescribing

Ohio House Bill 341, which was signed by Gov. John Kasich and takes effect in 2015, requires a check of the Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System (OARRS) before prescribing an opioid analgesic or benzodiazepine. Also included in the law is a requirement that physicians certify to their respective licensing board that they have registered for an OARRS account upon renewing their license.

There is an exception to the mandatory OARRS check when an opioid or benzodiazepine is prescribed or personally furnished in an amount indicated for a period not to exceed seven days.

The exception for prescriptions not exceeding seven days was the result of Ohio ACEP representatives' work with lawmakers on the House Opiate Addiction Treatment & Reform Subcommittee. As first proposed, HB 341 would have required any prescription of an opioid analgesic or benzodiazepine be preceded by an OARRS report. Emergency physicians raised concerns that a mandatory check of OARRS for each prescription would negatively affect an emergency physician’s ability to quickly and compassionately relieve acute pain.

Ohio ACEP was one of the first medical specialties at the table when the state began to confront its prescription opioid abuse epidemic. Working with the Governor’s Cabinet Opiate Action Taskforce (GCOAT), Ohio ACEP was instrumental in developing the Ohio Emergency and Acute Care Facility Opioids and Other Controlled Substances (OOCS) Prescribing Guidelines. But when appropriate, Ohio ACEP has also opposed bills that would substitute the clinical judgment of emergency physicians in favor of arbitrary prescribing restrictions.

In order to assist healthcare professionals to implement HB 341, the Ohio State Board of Pharmacy has developed a frequently asked questions document.

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