Wednesday, July 2, 2008

California takes a big step forward in fighting prescription drug abuse

In 2005 California expanded the CURES program to include all Schedule II-IV prescriptions dispensed. These medications have to be reported to the State Attorney Generals office who maintains a database of medications dispensed. This includes controlled substances directly dispensed from, Pharmacies, Doctors offices, clinics, and Emergency Departments that give out the to-go six pack of Vicodin when patients present after pharmacies are closed. Reports to the CURES program are done using a direct dispensing log that is faxed weekly to the CURES program.

Medical Providers and Pharmacist have been able to tap into this database by requesting an activity report on patients under their care. What they get is a print-out of every controlled Rx filled by the patient regardless of the source. In the past this report took several days to weeks to obtain. It was little use for the Provider who is trying to figure out if the person in front of them is filling multiple scripts from multiple sources. It worked well for ongoing care of repeat patients. I have seen it work well with some of our regular patients who return like clockwork to the ED several times a month. When confronted with the report of scripts they have filled recently and neglected to mention when listing their medications most give up knowing they have been had and you don’t see them again.

Soon the availability of activity reports will be online instantly via the California Attorney Generals web site. Instant access to a patients controlled substance prescription activity will give providers knowledge if they being lied to, used, played, to feed a habit or supply someone with an income who is reselling their meds. For those with legitimate pain conditions who are not seeking medication from multiple sources it should help them by removing the cloud of suspicion that follows them when seeking pain relief.

This effort is being funded partially by the Troy and Alana Pack Foundation founded by Bob Pack who’s 7 and 10 year old children were killed by a driver under the influence of prescription drugs obtained from multiple doctors. The Wall Street Journal recently had an article about the program.

Its about time.

1 comment:

Shaheen Lakhan said...

Thanks for submitting this post to our blog carnival. We just published the 9th edition of Drugs and Pharmacology and your article was featured!

Thank you.