Starting Monday, April 1, Tennessee health care providers are required to use the state’s controlled substance monitoring database before writing a prescription.
The regulation is part of the Prescription Safety Act signed by Gov. Bill Haslam last year. Its goal is to prevent prescription drug abuse and lessen opportunities for “doctor shoppers.”
At the University of Tennessee Medical Center, doctors have been using the database for years.
“There are some patients that we did not suspect may have been diverting medications for improper use who actually had been,” Dr. Anthony Wilson, assistant professor for the UT Graduate School of Medicine, told WATE. “We have taken measures to not prescribe those medications to those people.”
Meanwhile, Dr. Joe Browder, of Pain Consultants of East Tennessee, said he has used the database since its inception in 2006, with each search taking 3-4 minutes.
Although checking patients’ history using the database can be time-consuming, Tennessee’s medical practitioners say it’s all worth it, knowing that they are doing it to help alleviate the unnecessary abuse of prescription medications.
Since January 1, 2013, pharmacists are required to enter prescription information for commonly abused drugs into a statewide electronic database every seven days.
Doctors and pharmacists who do not abide by the new state law will be issued with fines and risk losing their license.