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PDMP News & Updates

PDMP News & Updates

Sunset Review Underway

The Colorado Office of Policy, Research and Regulatory Reform is conducting a sunset review of the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. Analysis in a sunset review is performed to determine whether the regulatory program is necessary and should be continued, modified or eliminated. This review will produce a report with recommendations to the Colorado General Assembly and result in subsequent legislation based on the recommendations in the report. Your input is an important component of a successful sunset review. If you would like to submit comments online, please visit the DORA Sunset Comments Form.

New Law, SB19-228 Substance Use Disorders Prevention

A new law, SB19-228 Substance Use Disorders Prevention, allows authorized medical examiners and coroners to access the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) under specified circumstances.  More details regarding this new access are available in this Question and Answer document. The new law also has several other provisions designed to prevent substance use disorders, such as requiring substance abuse prevention training for prescribers, requiring opioid prescriptions to bear a warning label, and funding for several programs within state government agencies, local public health agencies, and the University of Colorado.

Listen to PDMP Townhalls, Get FAQs Documents

The Division of Professions and Occupations (DPO) hosted three Telephone Town Halls in July 2019 that addressed Colorado's requirements for prescribers and dispensers related to the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program.

The Town Hall for veterinarians only was held July 25. Among the topics covered were the unique Veterinary Policy for Prescribing and Dispensing Opioids, and potential reservations and pitfalls faced by vets who are or aren't, using the PDMP. A three-person panel comprised of Drs. Lee Newman, Stacey Meola, and Ragan Adams led an informative discussion. The panel has experience in rural and urban settings, with small and large animal populations, and within the academic community, and examined issues related to controlled substance prescribing for veterinarians.

The veterinary Townhall recording is available below for those licensees who were unable to participate in this session. A Q-and-A document also can be accessed that answers many frequently asked questions about the PDMP, its use, benefits, and contact information related to its operation.

DPO hosted two other Telephone Townhalls on July 15, 2019, that addressed Colorado's requirements for prescribers and dispensers related to the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program's registration and use under the Medical, Podiatry, Dental, Optometry, Pharmacy, and Nursing Boards.

Robert Valuck, Executive Director of the Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention, was the featured speaker. Among the topics of discussion were the PDMP's structure and purpose; the selection of specialties; prescriber reports, and the use of delegated accounts to inform patient assessments.

Both of those Townhall recordings and a Q-and-A document also are now available for the July 15 events.

New 2019 Legislation

On May 23, 2019, Governor Jared Polis signed HB19-1009 Substance Use Disorder Recovery. The new law went into effect immediately upon the Governor’s signature and expands a state housing voucher program in the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) to individuals with substance use disorders who are transitioning back into the community, including the homeless. It requires certification of recovery residences and creates a grant program in the Department of Human Services (DHS) to defray recovery residences' certification costs. The General Assembly must appropriate $1.0 million from the Marijuana Tax Cash Fund for five years, FY 2019-20 to FY 2023-24 The new law also creates the Opioid Crisis Recovery Funds Advisory Committee to advise the Department of Law on uses of any custodial funds received by the state as a result of opioid-related litigation. The committee consists of 26 members representing various stakeholders, who must be appointed within 90 days of receiving notice from the Attorney General of an opioid-related settlement or damage award to the state. 

On May 23, 2019, Governor Jared Polis signed SB19-227 Harm Reduction Substance Use Disorders. The new law creates and expands certain substance use disorder treatment programs. Among other provisions, the new law:

  • creates an opiate antagonist bulk purchase program;
  • expands the list of individuals and organizations to whom a physician and advanced practice nurse may prescribe or dispense an opiate antagonist;   
  • requires opioid antagonists to be made available alongside publicly funded defibrillators;
  • allows opiate antagonists to be administered by school staff; and,
  • expands the medication take-back program to include syringes.

On May 23, 2019, Governor Jared Polis signed SB19-219 Sunset Licensing of Controlled Substances.  The new law extends the repeal date of the Colorado Licensing of Controlled Substances Act (Act) in the Department of Human Services (DHS) to September 1, 2026. The new law is effective August 2, 2019 and it implements several recommendations from the sunset report, including:

  • Specifying that substance use disorder treatment programs include opioid treatment programs, and specifying the definition of opioid treatment programs.
  • Requiring DHS to develop and implement an information technology system by July 1, 2020, to track complaints made against a licensee and any disciplinary actions taken.
  • Directing DHS to develop a policy separating the administration of the Colorado Licensing of Controlled Substances Act from the administration of alcohol use education, prevention, and treatment.
  • Requiring DHS to develop or procure a secure online central registry by July 1, 2020 to register patients treated in a substance use disorder treatment program; 
  • Repealing references to research as a regulated activity under the Act. 

New Law Affects Colorado Prescribers, Limits Opioid Prescriptions

The prescribing and dispensing Boards are reviewing Senate Bill 18-22 Clinical Practice for Opioid Prescribing, and considering its impact, if any, on the Guidelines for Prescribing and Dispensing Opioids. Please check back for updates.

On Monday, May 21, 2018, Governor John Hickenlooper signed Senate Bill 18-22 Clinical Practice for Opioid Prescribing. The bill went into effect immediately upon the Governor’s signature. This new state law limits the number of opioid pills a healthcare provider can prescribe and affects physicians, physician assistants, advanced practice registered nurses with prescriptive authority, dentists, optometrists, podiatrists, and veterinarians.

Under the new law, a prescriber must limit a patient’s initial prescription of an opioid to a seven-day supply, if the prescriber has not written an opioid prescription for the patient in the last 12 months. The prescriber may exercise discretion in including a second fill for a seven-day supply. These limits do not apply, if, in the judgment of the prescriber, the patient:

  • Has chronic pain that typically lasts longer than 90 days or past the time of normal healing, as determined by the prescriber, or following transfer of care from another prescriber who prescribed an opioid to the patient;
  • Include data on prescription volume and PDMP usage.
  • Has been diagnosed with cancer and is experiencing cancer-related pain; or
  • Is experiencing post-surgical pain, that, because of the nature of the procedure, is expected to last more than 14 days.
  • Is undergoing palliative care or hospice care focused on providing the patient with relief from symptoms, pain and stress resulting from a serious illness in order to improve quality of life. (This exemption is allowed for physicians, physician assistants and advanced practice registered nurses only.)

After the first prescription, the prescriber is required to check the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) database before prescribing any additional opioids for the same patient. Failure to check the PDMP constitutes unprofessional conduct if the prescriber repeatedly fails to comply with this new requirement. The second fill requirement to check the PDMP does not apply when a patient:

  • Is receiving the opioid in a hospital, skilled nursing facility, residential facility, or correctional facility;
  • Has been diagnosed with cancer and is experiencing cancer-related pain; or
  • Is undergoing palliative care or hospice care;
  • Is experiencing post-surgical pain, that, because of the nature of the procedure, is expected to last more than 14 days.
  • Is receiving treatment during a natural disaster or during an incident where mass casualties have taken place; or has received only a single dose to relieve pain for a single test or procedure.

After the second opioid prescription, the law has no further restrictions on the healthcare provider’s prescribing practices. The new law does require a healthcare provider, or the provider’s designee, to specify the provider’s specialty upon the initial query of the PDMP. It also states a violation of the new requirements does not constitute negligence or contributory negligence per se and does not create a private right of action or serve as the basis of a cause of action.

PDMP Delegate Training Video

A training video is available to show prescribers and pharmacists how to set up delegate accounts for the PDMP. Any prescriber or pharmacist can create up to three delegate accounts for trained individuals who can check the PDMP on the prescriber or pharmacist's behalf. You can utilize the PDMP more frequently to get the most complete medical history possible.

View the video now or access it via the "New Delegate Training Video!" button on this site's homepage.

Prior Opioid Policy Stakeholder Meeting Recordings Available

The Division of Professions and Occupations (DPO) in the Department of Regulatory Agencies hosted the following stakeholder meetings in Denver to discuss potential updates to the Policy for Prescribing and Dispensing Opioids (Policy).

Policy Updates

Colorado Consortium Newsroom

Visit the Newsroom of the Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention for recent media stories, reports, press releases, and other items related to the prescription drug abuse epidemic.