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Pa.’s Law on Prescribing Opioids to Minors: An Important Update for Prescribers

Pennsylvania's law on prescribing opioids to minors, Act 125 of 2016, was signed by Gov. Wolf on Nov. 2, 2016. The law stipulates that except for specified exceptions that you can learn more about here a prescriber:

  • May not prescribe more than a seven-day supply of an opioid to a minor if a parent or guardian signs the form on behalf of the minor authorizing the prescribing of the opioid; or

  • Is limited to no more than a single, 72-hour supply of an opioid to a minor if an authorized adult (other than a parent or guardian) signs the form on behalf of the minor authorizing the prescribing of the opioid. In addition, when an authorized adult is present instead of a parent or guardian, the prescriber is required to indicate on the prescription the quantity that is to be dispensed pursuant to that prescription.

Pennsylvania's state licensing boards were required to create the consent form that prescribers need in order to fully comply with the law. Physicians and other prescribers should be aware that the consent form was published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin on Feb. 4, 2017, and is now available online.


The form requires details such as the name of the medication, quantity, amount of initial dose, and number of refills. It also requires the prescriber to certify that he/she has discussed the following items with both the minor and the minor's parent/guardian/authorized adult:

  • The risks of addiction and overdose associated with the controlled substance containing an opioid.
  • The increased risk of addiction to controlled substances to individuals suffering from mental or substance use disorders.
  • The dangers of taking a controlled substance containing an opioid with benzodiazepines, alcohol or other central nervous system depressants.
  • Any other information in the patient counseling information section of the labeling for controlled substances containing an opioid that I deemed necessary.

The completed form must be maintained in the minor's record with the prescriber.

More Resources on Act 125 and Other Recent Opioids Laws in Pennsylvania

For more details on the requirements for prescribing opioids to minorsincluding exceptions to the law and answers to frequently asked questions—check out PAMED's Quick Consult publication on Act 125 and other new opioids legislation. Access the Quick Consult.

PAMED members with questions can also contact our Knowledge Center at 855-PAMED4U (855-726-3348) or KnowledgeCenter@pamedsoc.org.

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