Talking Points


Talking Points for Office Managers and Staff 

New Laws for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain

Key Points

  • In response to the national epidemic of deaths from opioid-related* overdoses, Michigan has implemented new rules that restrict how doctors and other medical professionals can dispense certain controlled substance medications.
  • Licensed prescribers must have an established relationship with a patient before writing a prescription for opioids.
  • Before prescribing an opioid, licensed prescribers are now required to meet with patients and ensure they know and understand:
    • The dangers of opioid addiction
    • How to properly dispose of unused opioid drugs
    • The fact that delivery of a controlled substance is a felony in Michigan
    • The effects of exposing unborn babies to a controlled substance
  • Before prescribing an opioid, licensed prescribers are required to first obtain and review a report from the Michigan Automated Prescription System (MAPS) – a state monitoring system that tracks all prescriptions for controlled substances. The report provides each patient’s history of controlled substance prescriptions. The system is used to identify potential patient risk and drug abuse issues.
  • Under the new law, licensed prescribers can only prescribe a 7-day supply within any 7-day period.
  • Opioid prescriptions for emergency and post-op patients should be limited to three days or less.
  • Doctors and other medical professionals who do not comply with these new substance control rules and regulations are subject to reprimands, fines, and suspension of their medical license.

* Opioid drugs are those containing an opium or an opiate, including morphine and codeine.


Points for Answering the Phone or Addressing Patient Concern

  • We want to provide you with the best and safest care possible.
  • We understand how difficult it is to deal with chronic pain, and we want to help you.
  • It’s important that you come in and talk with our (doctor, nurse practitioner, physician assistant, dentist, etc.) about the risks of using an opioid drug before we can call in or write a prescription.
  • Our doctors are required to follow new state laws before writing prescriptions for any medication that contains an opioid drug.
  • Your pain can be managed in a lot of ways that do not involve the risk of addiction. Your doctor will be happy to talk with you and find a way to help you be more comfortable. May I make an appointment for you?



  • More than 40 people die every day in the United States from overdoses involving prescription opioids.
  • Since 1999, the number of opioids prescribed in the United States has quadrupled and 165,000 people have died from an overdose related to prescription opioids.
  • In 2013, 249 million prescriptions for opioid pain medication were written by health care providers – enough for every American adult to have a bottle of pills.
  • The CDC has issued new guidelines to improve care and reduce risks for patients who suffer from chronic pain. These new guidelines include non-opioid therapy (pain relievers, physical therapy, exercise) for patients who have chronic pain outside of active cancer, palliative, and end-of-life care.
  • When opioids are used, the lowest possible effective dose should be prescribed for the shortest duration.