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Law change targets opioid abuse

Chemists at the University of Texas have discovered a powerful new pain reliever that works in a previously unknown pathway of the brain, and could help take on the opioid epidemic. (NBC News)

Hundreds of lives are lost every year in Nevada, claimed by an addiction that starts with a prescription. To fight an epidemic state, lawmakers changed the way doctors do business. It's AB 474 and starting January 1, it is law.

“This is huge,” Dr. Dahlia Wachs tells us. “Some people will say this is long overdue others will say this is detrimental.”

As Dr. Wachs tells us, it is a significant change for doctors statewide. What does it do? The big change is how a doctor prescribes a controlled substance.

RELATED | New Nevada law to begin fast-track opioid data collection

First, that doctor must talk to a patient about addiction and the potential dangers an opioid brings, it limits the size of a prescription and the doctor has to complete risk assessments for potential abuse.

The idea is that strengthening the relationship between doctor and patient will help identify addiction early or stop it all together. But Doctor Wachs says it could have unintended consequences.

“It's so cumbersome these new rules and protocols,” Wachs tells us “that doctors and providers will say ‘you know what? You cant get your Xanax here and I'm not prescribing cough medicine with codeine. You’ve got to get that elsewhere.’”

Full details of AB 474 can be found at Prescribe365.nv.gov

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