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Nonopioid Directive Form Helps Fight Opioid Epidemic by Allowing Patients to Notify Health Professionals They Don’t Want Opioids

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Patients can now fill out a state form that directs health professionals and emergency medical services personnel to not administer opioids to them.

Today the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) made the nonopioid directive form available to the public on its website in response to a new state law. The nonopioid directive is part of the State of Michigan’s multifaceted plan to address the opioid epidemic.

“This law helps ensure nonopioid options to pain management are considered in the medical treatment of Michigan patients,” said Doctor Debra Pinals, MDHHS medical director of Behavioral Health and Forensic Programs. “Providing this supportive tool for patients to notify their health professionals that they are seeking alternatives for pain treatment is critically important for those who are most at-risk of misusing opioids, including those with a history of an opioid disorder.”

A link to the directive form can be found under “Additional Resources” at the bottom of the “Find Help Page” on Michigan’s Opioid Addiction Resources website, www.michigan.gov/opioids, along with other information.

The nonopioid directive can be filled out by the patient or a person’s legal guardian or patient advocate. Once submitted, the directive must be included in the patient’s medical records. There are exceptions in the law, such as a provision that a prescriber or a nurse under the order of a prescriber may administer an opioid if it is deemed medically necessary for treatment. 

Public Act 554 of 2018 amended the Public Health Code to provide for the form and required MDHHS to make it available on its website by today.

Michigan has been significantly affected by the national opioid epidemic. The number of annual opioid-related overdose deaths in the state have more than tripled since 2011, from 622 to 2,053. As part of the state-government-wide plan to address the issue, MDHHS has developed an action plan that is focused on prevention, early intervention and treatment.