California Attorney General Jerry Brown announced a plan to give physicians and pharmacists real-time Internet access to patients medication histories in an effort to stamp out prescription drug abuse.
Californias prescription drug database, called the Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System, has 86 million records of every schedule II, III and IV prescription drug dispensed in California. The office of the state attorney general provides this information by fax or phone to pharmacies, physicians and law enforcement personnel who suspect a patient may be gathering inappropriate quantities of controlled drugs by obtaining prescriptions from multiple physicians, a practice known as doctor shopping.
Brown intends to put patient prescription information in a secure Internet database, so providers can quickly check individuals drug history before writing or filling a prescription, and to keep the data as up to date as possible.
Codeine, Ocycontin, Valium, Vicodin and Xanax are the prescriptions of choice for abuse. In June 2007, Californians filled 68 million doses of Vicodin alone. There were about 598,000 emergency room visits involving nonmedical use of prescription or other pharmaceutical drugs in 2005 and 55% of these visits involved multiple drugs, according to the Drug Abuse Warning Network. -- by Rebecca Vesely