What is a controlled substance agreement?

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Medically reviewed by Neil Chatterjee, MD

A controlled substance agreement (often called a pain contract or opioid agreement) is a written agreement between a patient using controlled substances and their prescriber. These agreements usually cover the risks and expectations of their medication, and are signed by the patient and the provider. Common sections of a well-designed controlled substance agreement include:

  • the risks of opioids/other substances
  • alternate therapies
  • expectations to follow provider instruction
  • proper storage and disposal of medications
  • illicit drug use
  • notification of abuse prevention tools (i.e. PDMP, UDT, Pill Counts)
  • naloxone use and expectations

Why do I need one?

Controlled substance agreements are not about punishing patients or doctors suspecting abuse. Put simply, these agreements exist to keep patients safe. Controlled substances are risky, and agreements help patients fully understand the risks, options, and safeguards that are essential for responsible substance use.

Patients can complete Scriptulate's opioid contract at home--or download a template--on our controlled substance agreement page.

This post is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address any individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. When in doubt, speak to your doctor.

If you think you may be experiencing overdose or have any other medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

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