Measures designed to combat Virginia's opioid epidemic have seen the number of prescriptions for painkillers filled by pharmacies fall since their implementation in March.
The Roanoke Times reports the regulations issued by the Board of Medicine require doctors to try methods other than opioids to treat pain, and to limit supplies. A law taking effect in July requires prescribers to check what other controlled substances a patient is taking when prescribing opioids for more than seven days.
The dispensation of the most powerful opioids fell from 576,000 in March to slightly more than 500,000 in May. Prescription Monitoring Program Director Ralph Orr says it's too soon to know if the fall is a trend, as results are likely to take five years. Heroin and fentanyl fatalities continue to rise.