Dear New Brunswick Prescribing colleagues,
WorkSafeNB has changed the way it manages opioid prescriptions for clients recovering from workplace injuries.
Highlights from an updated policy that went into effect on September 29 include stricter monitoring, reducing the initial authorization period for opioid prescriptions from six weeks to two weeks, and limiting initial opioid dosages to 50 mg morphine equivalent per day. We ask that you note these restrictions when prescribing injured workers.
These changes come after extensive consultation with New Brunswick's medical community and the general public. The new policy aligns with feedback received and with provincial and national guidelines.
As such, we are asking that as a prescriber, you arrange follow up with patients after an initial two-week opioid prescription period to authorize an extension if warranted.
While we all know that opioids have therapeutic purposes, the ongoing opioid crisis highlights that there are serious risks associated with their use including addiction, overdose and death. The research is clear that opioids are ineffective for chronic aches and pains and as such should only be used when absolutely necessary.
WorkSafeNB continues to work with the New Brunswick Medical Society, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of New Brunswick and other members of the Provincial Opioid Prescribing Task force to encourage safe prescribing and dispensing of opioids in line with national guidelines.