New Bill Imposes Strict Regulations on Prescribing Controlled Substances


New Bill Imposes Strict Regulations on Prescribing Controlled Substances


In response to the rising opioid crisis in the United States, Nevada law makers recently passed Assembly Bill 474, otherwise known as the “The Controlled Substance Abuse Act,” making various changes to how doctors prescribe controlled substances to their patients. The bill, which went into effect January 1, 2018, requires prescribers to evaluate each patient and their specific needs before prescribing large amounts of medication. The hope is that the rigorous processes may lead to proper use (and less abuse) of specific medications, which may not be necessary for the patient.

Before writing an initial prescription for a controlled substance each prescriber must have:

  • An established relationship with the patient
  • Given the patient a comprehensive physical and mental health assessment
  • Obtained and viewed the patient’s Prescription Drug Monitoring report from the state databases
  • Offered other treatments besides a controlled substance
  • The patient sign an Informed Consent form that includes information on how to properly take the medication

The initial prescription can only be written for a length of 14 days. If the patient requires the medication for more than 30 days, they will be required to sign a Prescription Medication Agreement, which will have rules and goals defined by the prescriber. Finally, if the patient continues to need medication after 90 days, they will have to visit the provider’s office for additional assessments and complete a Risk of Abuse Assessment. The law also states no provider should prescribe a controlled substance to a patient who has already received 365 days’ worth of that medication.

While a major focus of The Controlled Substance Abuse Act is opiates, it does apply to other common prescriptions classified under controlled substances levels II, III, and IV

  • Xanax
  • Valium
  • Adderall
  • Ritalin

Please Note: If you are a patient on any of the affected medications, you will still be able to get your prescriptions by working with your prescriber on these agreements and the new process. Although this act does impose new challenges and additional paperwork, for both the patient and provider, its motive is to prioritize patient safety, reduce the amount of inappropriate prescribing, and prevent addiction to these drugs through monitoring and mitigating risk