In an effort to curb a spike in prescription painkiller abuse, Gov. Tom Corbett's administration is endorsing a set of voluntary practices for doctors.
The Pennsylvania Medical Society also endorsed the new guidelines out this month, which it helped write.
Corbett's secretary for drug and alcohol programs, Garry Tennis, says there's been a dramatic increase in prescribing opioids for chronic pain over the last 15 years. He says it's been accompanied by skyrocketing prescription drug abuse and overdoses that have led to Pennsylvania's current heroin epidemic.
He says he hopes the guidelines will significantly reduce the chances of addiction to prescription opioids.
The guidelines ask doctors to discuss risks and benefits with patients, thoroughly research a patient's medical history and consider an initial treatment with opiods to be a therapeutic trial.