News & Updates

New 2019 Legislation

On May 23, 2019, Governor Jared Polis signed HB19-1009 Substance Use Disorder Recovery. The new law went into effect immediately upon the Governor’s signature and expands a state housing voucher program in the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) to individuals with substance use disorders who are transitioning back into the community, including the homeless. It requires certification of recovery residences and creates a grant program in the Department of Human Services (DHS) to defray recovery residences' certification costs. The General Assembly must appropriate $1.0 million from the Marijuana Tax Cash Fund for five years, FY 2019-20 to FY 2023-24 The new law also creates the Opioid Crisis Recovery Funds Advisory Committee to advise the Department of Law on uses of any custodial funds received by the state as a result of opioid-related litigation. The committee consists of 26 members representing various stakeholders, who must be appointed within 90 days of receiving notice from the Attorney General of an opioid-related settlement or damage award to the state.

New Law Affects Colorado Prescribers, Limits Opioid Prescriptions

The prescribing and dispensing Boards are reviewing Senate Bill 18-22 Clinical Practice for Opioid Prescribing, and considering its impact, if any, on the Guidelines for Prescribing and Dispensing Opioids. Please check back for updates.

On Monday, May 21, 2018, Governor John Hickenlooper signed Senate Bill 18-22 Clinical Practice for Opioid Prescribing. The bill went into effect immediately upon the Governor’s signature. This new state law limits the number of opioid pills a healthcare provider can prescribe and affects physicians, physician assistants, advanced practice registered nurses with prescriptive authority, dentists, optometrists, podiatrists, and veterinarians.

Under the new law, a prescriber must limit a patient’s initial prescription of an opioid to a seven-day supply, if the prescriber has not written an opioid prescription for the patient in the last 12 months. The prescriber may exercise discretion in including a second fill for a seven-day supply. These limits do not apply, if, in the judgment of the prescriber, the patient:

  • Has chronic pain that typically lasts longer than 90 days or past the time of normal healing, as determined by the prescriber, or following transfer of care from another prescriber who prescribed an opioid to the patient;
  • Include data on prescription volume and PDMP usage.
  • Has been diagnosed with cancer and is experiencing cancer-related pain; or
  • Is experiencing post-surgical pain, that, because of the nature of the procedure, is expected to last more than 14 days.
  • Is undergoing palliative care or hospice care focused on providing the patient with relief from symptoms, pain and stress resulting from a serious illness in order to improve quality of life. (This exemption is allowed for physicians, physician assistants and advanced practice registered nurses only.)

After the first prescription, the prescriber is required to check the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) database before prescribing any additional opioids for the same patient. Failure to check the PDMP constitutes unprofessional conduct if the prescriber repeatedly fails to comply with this new requirement. The second fill requirement to check the PDMP does not apply when a patient:

  • Is receiving the opioid in a hospital, skilled nursing facility, residential facility, or correctional facility;
  • Has been diagnosed with cancer and is experiencing cancer-related pain; or
  • Is undergoing palliative care or hospice care;
  • Is experiencing post-surgical pain, that, because of the nature of the procedure, is expected to last more than 14 days.
  • Is receiving treatment during a natural disaster or during an incident where mass casualties have taken place; or has received only a single dose to relieve pain for a single test or procedure.

After the second opioid prescription, the law has no further restrictions on the healthcare provider’s prescribing practices. The new law does require a healthcare provider, or the provider’s designee, to specify the provider’s specialty upon the initial query of the PDMP. It also states a violation of the new requirements does not constitute negligence or contributory negligence per se and does not create a private right of action or serve as the basis of a cause of action.

New PDMP Prescriber Reports Coming in February

Beginning February 2018 prescribers will receive a quarterly automated "Prescriber Report" from the PDMP. The new reports will provide key information related to a prescriber's personal prescription history and compare an individual's data to peers within the same specialty.

Key Facts about the New Prescriber Reports:

  • Help prescribers make more informed decisions.
  • Include data on prescription volume and PDMP usage.
  • Include Morphine Milligram Equivalent (MME) dosing information.
  • Give prescribers an opportunity to assess their own prescribing history when compared to their peers within the same specialty.
  • Support PDMP's mission to identify and prevent potential misuse and abuse of prescription drugs.
  • Protect confidentiality of patient specific information.
  • Support appropriate utilization of controlled substances for legitimate medical purposes.

Reports will begin February 2018 and arrive quarterly in a prescriber's email, or they can be accessed inside PMP AWARxE by clicking on the "Prescriber Report" link. Be sure to review the FAQ related to the new Prescriber Reports below. If you have additional questions, please contact us at or 855-263-6403.

Prescriber Report FAQ

PDMP Delegate Training Video

A training video is available to show prescribers and pharmacists how to set up delegate accounts for the PDMP. Any prescriber or pharmacist can create up to three delegate accounts for trained individuals who can check the PDMP on the prescriber or pharmacist's behalf. You can utilize the PDMP more frequently to get the most complete medical history possible.

View the video now or access it via the "New Delegate Training Video!" button on this site's homepage.


Prior Opioid Policy Stakeholder Meeting Recordings Available

Policy Updates

Colorado Consortium Newsroom

Visit the Newsroom of the Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention for recent media stories, reports, press releases, and other items related to the prescription drug abuse epidemic.