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Alberta doctors directed to be more cautious about prescribing opioids

New data suggests Alberta opioid crisis is worsening
WATCH: New data suggests Alberta opioid crisis is worsening

EDMONTON – The Alberta College of Physicians and Surgeons has laid out new rules for prescribing opioids.

Starting April 1, physicians will have to justify their prescribing decisions based on documented patient assessments.

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The college says doctors must also be cautious about putting patients on opioids and must discuss with them the pros and cons of the medication, as well as other treatment options.

WATCH: Role of doctors and pharmacists in Canada’s opioid crisis

Role of doctors and pharmacists in Canada’s opioid crisis
Role of doctors and pharmacists in Canada’s opioid crisis

The college is also requiring that doctors check an independent source for a patient’s medical history and only prescribe a minimal dosage in the meantime.

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READ MORE: Albertans in chronic pain concerned by new proposed guidelines for opioids

Registrar Dr. Trevor Theman says opioids pose a significant health risk and doctors need to ensure they are prescribing responsibly.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was in Vancouver discussing the opioid crisis there and said over-prescription of such drugs is contributing to the problem.