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A Win for Pain Docs & Chronic Pain Patients?

Following two years of tight controls that kept doctors from writing multiple prescriptions for morphine-based painkillers in one visit, the DEA has loosened up. They have proposed a formal rule to allow doctors to write three 30-day prescriptions, two of which are future-dated, during a single appointment for patients who need constant supplies of morphine-based painkillers.

A “formal rule” is government speak for a policy that it thinks people should obey, but isn’t legally binding. In this case, it gives doctors more freedom while leaving the door open for DEA prosecution.

It definitely looks like a nod toward progress. The question is whether it is merely symbolic — or, much worse, a diversionary tactic. Any opinions on whether this is step in the right direction or just a smokescreen?