Zoeller: Medical board adopts new prescribing rule for physicians

Greg Zoeller
Greg Zoeller

INDIANAPOLIS – The Medical Licensing Board of Indiana voted Thursday to adopt a new rule concerning physicians who prescribe addictive pain medications to nonterminal patients.

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said the rule aims to ensure patients are well informed about their prescriptions and physicians closely monitor patients to identify cases of misuse and abuse. A recent study by Trust for America’s Health revealed the number of deaths caused by overdoses in Indiana has quadrupled since 1999.

This year, the Indiana General Assembly passed legislation charging the board with developing new rules regarding prescribing controlled substances and strengthening the authority of the Attorney General’s office to inspect physician records in overprescribing cases. The two emergency rules stem in part from recommendations made by the Indiana Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force which Zoeller launched last year.

“Thanks to the hard work by the state’s Medical Licensing Board and to the Indiana Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force, Indiana is making great strides in the battle against prescription drug abuse,” Zoeller said. “By ensuring physicians are educating and closely monitoring patients and Hoosier patients are well informed, we can help stop cases of doctor shopping and even overprescribing.”

Beginning Dec. 15, physicians will be required to monitor certain patient’s history via the state’s drug monitoring system called INSPECT which reveals what medications have been prescribed to a patient. Zoeller said this check can prevent someone from “doctor shopping” or obtaining multiple prescriptions for the same drug from different physicians.

The board also adopted a new rule giving the Attorney General’s office the ability to more efficiently review physician records regarding controlled substances. Zoeller said this helps his office during investigations of physicians who may be overprescribing.

Since January of last year, Zoeller’s office has filed complaints or summary suspensions against more than 15 doctors for overprescribing.

The goal of the task force is to significantly reduce the abuse of controlled prescription drugs and to decrease the number of deaths associated with these drugs in Indiana. The task force also makes recommendations for new rules, regulations and state statutes to the Indiana General Assembly.

The task force in conjunction with the Indiana State Medical Association will soon release a physician toolkit which will help doctors navigate the new emergency rules. Zoeller’s office will also host the fourth annual Prescription Drug Abuse Symposium on Nov. 1 where health officials will discuss Indiana’s prescription drug abuse epidemic and learn more about the impact of the new rules.

Zoeller also thanked the Indiana State Medical Association for their work on developing the emergency rules and physician toolkit.

This year, Zoeller and the task force launched a new website, www.BitterPill.IN.gov, and a statewide public awareness campaign which includes radio and TV commercials about prescription drug abuse. The website serves as a one-stop-shop for consumers to find information about the epidemic and how to get help.



  1. Gee, righties don’t mind interference in the doctor-patient relationship, do they? I guess it is just in cases involving birth control, abortion, pain management, and access to basic health care. Zoeller certainly does talk out of both sides of his mouth!

  2. From what I have read there is a push to only prescribe 5 months worth od pain pills in a given 6 month period.
    For some that might work. But what of patients that are on a good regiment that works. And have tried other methods of controlling their pain that just simply does not work?
    I have a mother that does take Hydrocodone for pancreatitis, COPD, severe arthritis, and other conditions. She did try “Oxycotin” & just did not like the side effects period from that.
    I myself have had 4 discs fused in an ACDF with plates, a cage & screws. Also had a corpectomy done at 5 levels with hardware as well… What of the folks that have a very good regiment that does work?
    I have seen so many people say lets pass a “Medicinal Cannabis”… For some yes that will work. But what about the patients that have been always told that it is bad & so forth that just wouldn’t try it for nothing?

    If something like that is passed you will be assured to see more drugs being sold for profit on the street!
    Yes, there is a problem out there. But cutting down Rx refills for the one who need it most is not the solution.

    • The person I know has RSD and is prescribed pain pills, but is NEVER out of pain, they just make it tolerable enough for her to function and get through the day,–She counts them out (she can have 1 every 4hrs) and always marks down when she last took one, she has to be disciplined, because to run out is too painful. She only sleeps for short periods at night,–the pain is her alarm clock. There will never be a justified reason to restrict access to pain management for this individual, Her affliction is a life sentence to Pain.

      • Exactly right! There are plenty of people who, while not terminally ill, suffer debilitating pain on a daily basis.
        While I understand that some people abuse pain killers, it appears to me that it should be quite easy to identify “doctor shoppers” through a registry kept by pharmacies. If the same patient shows up getting pain killers from more than one doctor and pharmacy, they could be identified and the physicians notified.
        When the State starts “policing” physicians directly, I think we have a privacy issue. I don’t understand why our Governor and AG are not concerned about this! Of course, compassion for Hoosiers doesn’t seem to be their “strong suits” does it?

  3. MJ is illegal and your local pharmacy is the worst drug dealer in town. Nixon and Reagan’s lies sure have hurt this country deeply.

  4. relax liberal drug heads this is about education trying to help you…. after it goes through one ear and out the other you can continue the drug abuse…….

  5. The FDA and its regulatory reach have all but eliminated any need of state involvement. Now if they would simply enforce the regulations already on the books.

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