In an effort to stop “doctor shopping” and prescription drug abuse, Governor Mary Fallen signed a bill into law Tuesday, that will require doctors to check a database before writing prescriptions for certain drugs.
Dr. Jeffery Davenport has been using the Oklahoma Prescription monitoring program for years.
“When I get a new patient and especially if they're coming in with an illness that requires some controlled substances the very first thing I do is look them up,” said Dr. Davenport.
But after the law takes effect November 1, using the database will be mandated for potentially dangerous or addictive drugs.
“I feel strongly that it's going to make a difference in the next few years,” said Darrell Weaver, the Director of the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics.
The OBN has been trying for a couple years to get a law like this passed, pointing the large number of deaths in our state attributed to prescription drug overdoses.
“This is about saving lives and I think we are all in agreement we have to do something in Oklahoma to save lives,” said Weaver.
Last year, the proposal failed after meeting resistance from medical groups that said the requirements would be burdensome for doctors.
Dr. Davenport said he's heard that from his colleagues too. But he said it only takes a couple seconds, and in the past he has been able to use the database to identify patents who need help.
“I've had a few that go, ‘I do, I have a problem', and I say I'd like to help,”
Currently, the database includes prescriptions written in Oklahoma, Kansas and Arkansas, but Weaver said he expects it will eventually include the entire United States.