Sacramento, CA — The legislation will require doctors to check a database of prescription narcotics before writing prescriptions for addictive drugs.
Governor Jerry Brown signed SB482, which hopes to put an end to “doctor shopping,” amid reports prescription drug abuse has hit epidemic levels in the country. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that nationwide more than 165,000 people died from prescription opioid overdoses from 1999 to 2014, including 4,500 Californians who died in the last year of available data.
California has maintained records of narcotic prescription histories for years, first on paper and then on computers. However, using the system has been optional for physicians, dentists, nurse practitioners and others who write prescriptions. Under the new law doctors and nurses must check the database for signs of abuse when initially prescribing narcotic painkillers like OxyContin, Vicodin and Percocet, as well as steroids, sleep aids and psychiatric medications. It also requires them to check the database every four months for as long as the drug regimen is continued for a patient.