Dr. Chris Colwell, director of emergency medicine at Denver Health, says physicians disagree on how tough guidelines should be, but he said the hospital's doctors do agree that patients should be sent back to their long-term doctors for pain management.
One problem hospitals face in reducing prescriptions for painkillers is that many emergency-room patients do not have a long-term doctor to consult.
Nationwide, deaths from painkiller overdoses have tripled since the late 1990s to nearly 15,000 a year. That parallels the growth in prescriptions.
A report released this month by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration said Colorado has the second-highest rate of prescription-pill abuse in the nation, at 6 percent of the population.
A National Governors Association task force, co-chaired by Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, is expected to make further recommendations.
Information from: The Denver Post, http://www.denverpost.com