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State takes step toward opioid prescription monitoring


Health care providers in California could soon be required to check the state’s prescription drug monitoring database before dispensing controlled substances.

The California Assembly Committee on Business and Professions on Tuesday passed S.B. 482, which would require health care providers to consult the state’s Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System, known as CURES, no earlier than 24 hours before prescribing a Schedule II, III or IV controlled substance for the first time and at least annually thereafter.

Introduced in February 2015 by California Sen. Ricardo Lara, a Democrat, the bill states that prescribers who knowingly fail to consult the database would be “subject to administrative sanctions by the appropriate state professional licensing board.”

States like New York, Massachusetts and Tennessee already require health care providers to access databases before prescribing certain controlled substances.

“The use of a program like CURES will help to identify doctor shopping, improve clinically appropriate prescriptions and assist in preventing the diversion of substances to the illicit market,” American Insurance Association Assistant Vice President Steven Suchil testified during the hearing. “The result will be more thoughtful prescription of controlled substances, lessening addictions and debilitating health effects and improved patient results. CURES is an important tool to identify abuses and help to end to scourge of opioid overuse and abuse.”

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