Texas governor signs opioid control legislation

by | Jun 21, 2019

A new Texas law to curb opioid abuse includes prescribing restrictions for opioid treatment of acute pain. Effective September 1, 2019, when prescribing for treatment of acute pain, a provider may not prescribe opioids for more than a 10-day supply or refill an opioid.

The policy defines acute pain as the normal, predicted, physiological response to a stimulus such as trauma, disease or an operative procedure. Exceptions to this limit include chronic pain, cancer-related treatment, or hospice, palliative or other end-of-life care.

Effect on workers’ compensation and auto no-fault
It is important to note that this law, and similar legislation in other states, is focused on the prescribing and/or dispensing of opioids and not on payment for these medications by insurers or employers. Consequently, issues such as insurer authorization, coverage and reimbursement are usually not addressed.

ePrescribing and provider education requirements in Texas law
The new Texas law requires ePrescribing for all controlled substances beginning January 1, 2021; however, a waiver is available for prescribers who can meet waiver requirements.

Additionally, the legislation requires providers who are licensed to prescribe and dispense controlled substances to undergo at least two hours of professional education per licensing period related to approved procedures for prescribing and monitoring controlled substances.

The full text of the Texas legislation, HB2174, can be found here.

Opioid resource for you
The Optum Workers’ Comp and Auto No-fault Government Affairs team catalogued examples of state opioid limitation bills in an opioid analgesic white paper, released in 2018. We continue to track legislative activities related to opioids and will publish noteworthy developments.

Should you have questions on this or any other policy, please contact our Government Affairs team at

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