Pain Management Resources and Opioid Use

Recent News

Opioid Policy Updates 12/2019


The Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (the Department) has implemented and plans to continue to implement policies designed to impact the opioid overdose epidemic. The objective of this page is to provide a central source for Department opioid policy information, resources regarding pain management and opioid prescribing for the provider, member pain management resources, and additional related information. The Department is following the lead of the Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention in reducing the misuse of prescription opioids. In order to support this Governor-assigned task force the currently implemented policies describing limitations on morphine milligram equivalents (MME), short acting opioid pill quantities, early interruption of opioid dosing escalations, and dental provider specific policies are briefly listed:

  • MME - Prior Authorization required for Rx exceeding 200MME
  • Short-acting opioid pill quantity limits - 120 per 30 days for chronic (non-naïve) short-acting opioids
  • Opioid Naïve Policy - Member identified as opioid naïve if they have not had an opioid Rx filled within 180 days, days-supply will be limited for opioid naïve to 7 days (56 pills, short-acting opioid only), after 3 fills of 7 days-supplies are written, provider may be required to complete provider-provider consult with pain management specialist
  • Dental provider quantity limit is 4 days (24 pills, short-acting opioid only)

Through these policies, the Department is attempting to reduce potentially inappropriate opioid utilization, high risk/high dose prescribing, and reduce unnecessary escalation to higher dose opioid utilization. Recognizing there are special needs and necessity for individual assessment for many members, the Department provides provider-provider consults with a pain management specialist free of charge to the provider and member and are available by request ( Compassionate pain management and opioid safety are important to the Department and the consult service provides an additional expert evaluation of safety and efficacy of members' pain management regimens.

The Department strongly encourages the provider use the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program when prescribing controlled substances to all members.

Courtesy of National Safety Council on Acute Pain:

Over the counter or Prescription: What's most effective? The most effective pain relief combination: 200 mg of ibuprophen plus 500 mg of acetaminophen. Opioid painkillers may not always be the best way to treat acute pain.

The State of Colorado believes it is important to provide information about opioids and intends this page to be a resource. It is intended to provide additional information about opioids, their use, potential misuse, as well as information about substance abuse/misuse programs, however it is not meant to be all inclusive. This page provides links to a handful of external websites that are not the property of, or the responsibility of the State of Colorado. Upon the selection of such a link you will leave the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing’s website. The State of Colorado is not responsible for the content of the linked web pages or the dependability, accuracy or information security of these sites. The State of Colorado does not endorse or sponsor the companies, products or services that may be offered at these websites nor should such an endorsement be implied. The links are not listed in any particular order of importance.