Critics say a new Medicare rule that would prevent payment for long-term, high-dose opioid prescriptions could harm pain patients, according to The New York Times.

The rule is designed to reduce the problem of opioids being overprescribed to elderly and disabled patients. It is expected to be approved on April 2.

Opponents of the new rule, including some patients with chronic pain, primary care doctors and experts in pain management and addiction medicine, say it could force patients into withdrawal or even lead them to buy dangerous street drugs. If approved, the rule would take effect on January 1, 2019.

About two dozen states and many private insurers have already put limits on opioids, the article notes.