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Ohio Opioid Prescribing Guidelines

The Governor’s Cabinet Opiate Action Team's (GCOAT) Professional Education Workgroup (PEW) was established in 2011 to address the continuing epidemic of prescription opioid abuse and overdose death in Ohio. 

Since many opioid addicts were first exposed to these drugs through prescriptions for legitimate pain issues, and later become dependent or addicted to the powerful substances, health care providers and organizations can play a critical role for their patients by adopting consensus-based opioid prescribing guidelines. 

Under the leadership of Departments of Health and Aging, the PEW developed two sets of prescribing guidelines.  Multiple state health care organizations and interested professionals have devoted their time and expertise to the development of these resources to assist prescribers in making safe choices for their patients.    

Please select the links below to learn more about Ohio's opioid prescribing guidelines.

Prescribing Guidelines

Ohio’s Opioid Prescribing Guidelines for Treatment of Chronic, Non-Terminal Pain

The PEW reached consensus on recommended clinical guidelines when prescribing opioids to treat chronic, non-terminal pain.  These guidelines use 80 mg morphine equivalency dosing (MED) as a “trigger threshold,” as the odds of an overdose are significantly higher above that dose. The clinical guidelines recommend that at the 80 MED range or above the clinician “press pause” and re-evaluate how to optimize therapy and ensure patient safety. This pause also is a good time to consider potential adverse effects of long-term opioid therapy.



Ohio Emergency and Acute Care Facility Opioid and Other Controlled Substances Prescribing Guidelines (Emergency Guidelines)

The Emergency Guidelines were developed in April 2012 to help emergency and other acute care facilities reduce inappropriate prescribing of opioid pain medication while preserving their vital role of treating patients with emergent medical conditions.  They are intended to provide appropriate clinical guidance for the prescribing of opioids and other controlled substances in the unique acute care environment where the treatment of pain is frequently indicated without the benefit of an established patient-doctor relationship. 


Last reviewed: 07/09/2015