Los Angeles Times: As opioid death toll worsens, California doctors will soon be required to perform database checks

September 16, 2018

By Kristina Davis

For decades, California has kept a prescription history database for doctors and pharmacies to consult, but many healthcare providers have ignored it — and the potential life-saving clues it provides.

Beginning Oct. 2, a new law makes consulting that database mandatory.

By logging into a web-based program, prescribing physicians should be able to easily spot signs of a “doctor shopper” — someone who sees multiple doctors to load up on prescription drugs — or indications of dangerous medication combinations. Armed with that information, physicians can provide drug safety warnings, deny the patient’s request for prescriptions, and even offer help when drug abuse is suspected.

“California created the first system to track prescriptions of the strongest painkillers, but our state fell behind as the opioid crisis grew,” said state Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens), who drafted the legislation in 2015. “I wrote SB 482 to require that doctors and others consult the CURES system before prescribing these powerful and addictive drugs. This tool will help limit doctor shopping, break the cycle of addiction and prevent prescriptions from ever again fueling an epidemic that claims thousands of lives.”

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