INDIANAPOLIS — New state rules for prescribing painkillers have taken effect for Indiana's doctors as part of an effort to curb prescription drug abuse that's caused a rise in fatal overdoses.
The new requirements that took effect Sunday for physicians and osteopathic physicians don't bar them from prescribing opioid pain relievers such as oxycodone and hydrocodone.
But the rules do require new procedures for doctors who exceed a prescribing threshold of 60 opioid-containing pills a month or a morphine equivalent dose of more than 15 milligrams per day.
Lawmakers worried about an increase in fatal overdoses directed Indiana's medical licensing board this year to adopt emergency rules for creating prescribing standards consistent with standard medical practices for pain management treatment.
Indiana had 718 deaths from overdoses of prescription drugs during 2011 alone.