New Rules for Opioid Prescribing in Workers’ Compensation Expected May 1

New rules governing the prescribing of opioids for workers’ compensation patients were adopted by the North Carolina Industrial Commission last month and are pending review by the Rules Review Commission. If approved by the Rules Review Commission at its April meeting, the nine new provisions take effect on May 1. View the adopted rules.

The North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) has been closely following these rules since their proposal and throughout the rulemaking process. The rules include new limitations on quantity and dosing, as well as mandatory drug testing and risk assessments for workers that are prescribed opioids for acute and chronic injuries and conditions. Similar to last year’s STOP Act, the rules also require providers to review the NC Controlled Substance Reporting System (CSRS) prior to prescribing opioid medications. While all other provisions of the rules take effect May 1, as stated above, the proposed effective date for the requirement to review the CSRS will likely be November 1, 2018. The rules do not apply to opioids administered in a health care setting or opioids to treat cancer-related pain.

Now that the Industrial Commission’s rules are nearing implementation, NCMS will be providing guidance for members to assist them with compliance. Watch your NCMS Bulletin and social media feeds for updates on these new rules.


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  • Taylor

    Please summarize the findings. The legal jargon is unreadable

    • Elaine Ellis

      Dr. Jarrell,
      NCMS staff is preparing a summary of the rules for our members, and will share it soon. Thank you for your comment.