Nonconsensual Dose Reduction Mandates are Not Justified Clinically or Ethically: An Analysis

J Law Med Ethics. 2020 Jun;48(2):259-267. doi: 10.1177/1073110520935337.


This manuscript describes the institutional and clinical considerations that apply to the question of whether to mandate opioid dose reduction in patients who have received opioids long-term. It describes how a calamitous rise in addiction and overdose involving opioids has both led to a clinical recalibration by healthcare providers, and to strong incentives favoring forcible opioid reduction by policy making agencies. Neither the 2016 Guideline issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention nor clinical evidence can justify or promote such policies as safe or effective.

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics, Opioid / therapeutic use*
  • Chronic Pain / drug therapy*
  • Drug Tapering*
  • Health Policy
  • Humans
  • Mandatory Programs*
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / prevention & control
  • Quality of Health Care*
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Analgesics, Opioid