The Opioid Crisis

Hundreds of people in our state die from opioid overdoses each year, both from prescription drugs and from other narcotics such as heroin. The problem is a public health crisis. Many who survive overdoses are still prescribed opioids after the overdose. In October 2016, Gov. Jay Inslee issued an executive order calling opioid use disorder “a devastating and life-threatening medical condition.” His order called for action to curb opioid misuse and abuse.

Legislative Response

In 2017, the legislature passed a law that focuses on improving opioid prescribing, and on monitoring prescriptions. The law requires five healthcare professional boards and commissions to adopt new rules for prescribing opioid drugs:

  • Medical Commission
  • Board of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery
  • Nursing Commission
  • Dental Quality Assurance Commission
  • Podiatric Medical Board

The Rules Development Process

  • The five boards and commission formed an opioid prescribing task force with representatives from each. Technical experts from the Pharmacy Quality Assurance Commission and various healthcare entities were also actively involved.
  • From September 2017 to March 2018, the task force held meetings around the state to gather input from private citizens, pain patients, professional associations, community leaders, health care providers, and public health partners.
  • By the conclusion of the last meeting held in March 2018, the task force developed a boiler plate set of rules for each board and commission to customize and adopt for their specific professions.
  • The five boards and commissions held additional meetings to customize rules as needed, and to approve draft rule language. They filed individual rule proposal packages during the summer of 2018.
  • All five boards and commissions held public hearings and adopted proposed rule language during August and September 2018.


Timeline - please see paragraph below for accessible content

Fall 2017 - Early Spring 2018​

  • Task Force
  • Created a draft set of rules with the goal of having consistent rules for each profession.

Spring 2018

  • Board and Commissions
  • Modify and refine the conceptual rules to develop draft language for its professions.

Summer 2018

  • Board and Commissions
  • Accept written comments, hold a public hearing, and modify rules if needed.

Early Fall 2018

  • Department of Health
  • Department reviews all proposed language from all boards and commissions.

Late Fall 2018

  • Department of Health
  • File final rule language from the boards and commissions with the Office of the Code Reviser.

Opioid Prescribing Task Force Workshop Materials

The OPTF held seven workshops around the state to gather input from citizens, community leaders, health care providers, and public health partners. Below are the meeting dates, meeting materials, and documents the task force used in developing the draft conceptual rules.

ESHB 1427 Workshops

March 14, 2018
February 9, 2018
January 8, 2018
December 12, 2017
November 15, 2017
October 19, 2017
September 20, 2017