Pa. sets new guidelines for prescribing opioids to kids

Pennsylvania’s top health official visited the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Friday to introduce new guidelines for prescribing painkillers to kids. It’s one of the state’s most recent efforts to address the growing opioid epidemic.

The guidelines are the latest in a series the state has adopted to advise doctors in different medical specialties and suggest that, in children and adolescents, opioids should only be given in cases of moderate to severe pain. When they are prescribed, they should be at the lowest effective dose; short-acting opioids should be used first; and doctors should only supply as many pills as needed to get a patient through the duration of their symptoms, according to the state’s advice.

Pennsylvania’s acting Health Secretary and Physician General, Dr. Rachel Levine, said this is part of a larger effort to combat the state’s epidemic and promote what she called “opioid stewardship.”

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