New law cracks down on pain pill abuse

New law cracks down on pain pill abuse (Image 1)

A new law signed by Governor Bill Haslam aims to make doctor and pharmacy shopping tougher in Tennessee.

The law requires pharmacists to subscribe to Tennessee's Controlled Substance Monitoring Database (CSMD).

The Board of Pharmacy and the CSMD Advisory Committee establish, administer, maintain and direct the functioning of the database.

Pharmacies within the state of Tennessee are required to upload all schedule II-V prescriptions at least twice monthly.

Prescribers are also required to report schedule II-V prescriptions to the database.

Pharmacists and prescribers are required to check the database for a patient's prescription history before writing or filling a prescription for schedule II-V drugs.

Riverside Village Pharmacy owner Gary Williams already uses the database at his pharmacy, located at 1406-A. McGavock Pike.

“We can tell their history,” Williams said. “You know if they are abusing, trying to get refills early or trying to go to different doctors.”

At Williams' pharmacy he has found people who go to multiple pain management clinics or doctors and get prescriptions. Those people then go to multiple pharmacies to get their prescriptions filled. In the past checking the CSMD was an option for pharmacists.

“I had one person in a two month period who went to eight doctors and nine different pharmacies,” Williams said. “”They started coming here and I told them I couldn't take care of them unless they came here exclusively.”

Williams told Nashville's News 2 the system has also helped him catch forgeries.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, in 2010, about 12 million Americans, age 12 or older, reported non medical use of prescription painkillers in the past year.

In hospitals, nearly half a million emergency department visits in 2009 were due to people misusing or abusing prescription painkillers.
Non medical use of prescription painkillers costs health insurers up to $72.5 billion annually in direct health care costs.

The new law also upgrades doctor shopping from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class E felony if the person gets more than 250 units of the prohibited drug.

The new requirements take effect on October 1, 2012.

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