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Lawmakers endorse prescription limits in opioid addiction fight - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Lawmakers endorse prescription limits in opioid addiction fight

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As the opioid epidemic skyrockets around Colorado, treatment facilities such as the Recovery Village at Palmer Lake are flooded with addicts looking for help.

Some of them are young and addicted to heroin, others are older and can’t escape the tight grip of prescription opioid addiction.
“We do see an older population particularly from a chronic pain management standpoint and they've been on pain management medications for a long period of time and that population's probably in their mid-30's to 60's age group," said Dr. Robert Ocshner, a physician and addiction specialist at The Recovery Village at Palmer Lake.

A newly announced series of bills in Colorado that have bipartisan support would look to impose a seven-day limit on some opioid prescriptions, unless a doctors deems more is necessary as with chronic illnesses and cancer.

The bills would also seek a federal waiver to allow medicaid to cover residential rehab for opioid addiction, which could come with a cost as high as $170 million, with the state’s share totaling just under $50 million.

“I think the more money that goes into treatment and prevention, rehabs, outpatient management, and medication assisted therapies I think will all play huge roles in saving lives,” said Dr. Oschner.

In Colorado, reports show the rate of drug overdose deaths since 2000 has more than doubled. Experts say that’s in large part attributed to opioid use and abuse.

But some have voiced concerns that legislation restricting prescription opioids could lead to a jump in heroin use.

“From a short term perspective that is a big concern of mine in terms of I believe there will be an uptick in the amount of heroin used in addition to opiods, pills that are on the market will definitely increase in terms of price,” said Dr. Oschner.

Similar bills have passed in other states, such as Texas, in recent years.

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