New rules further limit opioid prescriptions for minors

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A new state law prevents doctors from prescribing painkillers to minors for periods longer than five days, but critics say it might not make much of a difference battling the opioid epidemic.

Previously, minors could receive prescriptions for such drugs for a maximum of seven days.

Supporters say they hope that by shortening the length of prescriptions, the number of people becoming addicted to painkillers will decrease. Especially vulnerable are minors with sports-related injuries.

"I think it can make a difference, because any time you can put parameters on these, I think it makes the medical community think a little bit differently," says state Sen. Bob Duff.

On the other hand, pharmacist Michael Grimaldi, of Health Plus Pharmacy in Norwalk, argues the new law won't be too effective. He says the number of minors who are receiving prescriptions for opioid drugs is low.

Grimaldi says the real problem is the high dosages that people with long-term pain receive. 

"It's not the teenager getting a prescription for himself," Grimaldi says. "It's reaching into grandma's or dad's supply and getting a hold of these drugs, or people buying them on the street, obtaining them under false circumstances."

Grimaldi says a coordination of care between doctors and pharmacists is perhaps one of the best ways to tackle the epidemic. That way, they can monitor the amount of dosages and the length of time for which people receive painkillers.

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