Prescription Pain Medications: Legal Considerations
Most strong pain medications are opioids, which means they are derived from opium. Most
people would know these drugs as narcotics. Because these drugs are potentially habit forming
and because they have street value when used illicitly, they are legally controlled. That is,
the rules governing the prescription of these drugs are more restrictive than those for other
types of medications. These rules are meant to protect patients, doctors, and society in
general. Whether or not one agrees with these rules, they must be followed or severe legal
penalties may be imposed. The government agencies concerned with these rules take their
responsibilities very seriously, and so do those of us with the licenses to prescribe these
Arthritis Center patients treated with opioids must agree to certain rules and sign a statement
to that effect. These rules are based on guidelines issued by the Federation of State Medical
Boards. Patients must agree, for example, to use their prescriptions only as prescribed, and
not to give them to others. Lost or stolen prescriptions will not be replaced or refilled
Very careful records of these prescriptions are maintained in patient charts and kept strictly
private. Diversion or abuse of these prescriptions will lead to discharge from the practice.
Adherence to these rules is the only way that patients can be protected from unfair
accusations, and is also the only way that the medical practitioners can be protected. It is
the only way to assure uninterrupted medical care. Misuse of these drugs by patients can lead
to investigations of medical practices and sometimes to civil or even criminal penalties.
The staff of the Arthritis Center is committed to the proper prescription use of opioids, and
the avoidance of diversion and abuse.
Arthritis Center’s Policies for the Prescription of Controlled Substances
Patient Pain Medication Agreement