Working with Lawmakers to Address Opioids

See How We’re Supporting Policy Change

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We are working to battle the opioid crisis with policy change by advising, advocating and working closely with state and national lawmakers. 

Blue Cross NC is:

  • Participating in the Payers’ Council, a group formed by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, to examine benefit design, member services and pharmacy policies
  • Providing input for the STOP Act in the North Carolina General Assembly. This law, passed in 2017, is focused on reducing unused opioids and “doctor shopping” by patients
  • Collaborating with providers, including partnering with the North Carolina Medical Board, on education requirements for opioid prescribers
  • Providing testimony before the President’s Commission on Combatting Drug Addiction

Where Does Blue Cross NC Stand?

We endorse the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention prescribing guidelines

Read CDC Guidelines


We support the North Carolina Medical Board’s provider requirements related to opioids

NCMB Prescriber Guidelines


We support the STOP Act, the latest North Carolina legislation addressing the opioid crisis passed in June, 2017

Read a Summary of the STOP Act

Among other requirements, the STOP Act (effective January 1, 2018) establishes the following guidelines for prescribing opioids:

  • Limits first-time prescriptions of targeted controlled substances for acute pain to no more than five days
  • Prescriptions following a surgical procedure limited to no more than seven days
  • Allows follow-up prescriptions as needed for pain
  • Limit does not apply to controlled substances to be wholly administered in a hospital, nursing home, hospice facility, or residential care facility
  • Dispensers not liable for dispensing a prescription that violates this limit (Effective Jan. 1, 2018)

In addition, Blue Cross NC is Working With Both Lawmakers and Providers

We’re helping by:

  • Advising the NC Medical Board and the NC legislature on key elements adopted into a state law called the STOP Act passed in June 2017.
  • Providing outreach to primary care providers across North Carolina to educate physicians and their teams on the recently published Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Guidelines for prescribing opioids and STOP Act legislation.

We’re already seeing results:

From the first half of 2015 to the first half of 2019, the number of opioids dispensed to our members is down 37%.