California has launched an online database that allows medical professionals to monitor patients' use of controlled substances in an effort to curb prescription-drug abuse.
The database, called the Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System, also called CURES, has more than 100 million entries representing controlled substances dispensed in California, such as Oxycontin, Valium and Vicodin, three of the most-abused drugs.
Physicians, pharmacists, registered nurses, midwives, medical licensing boards and law enforcement officials can access the database.
Previously, requests for patients' prescription drug histories had to be faxed or mailed. The state attorney general's office receives about 60,000 requests for this information per year.
A CURES record contains patients' drug dispensing records, including drug name, date filled, dosage, number of refills, pharmacist name and number, physician name and prescription number.
“The recent deaths of Anna Nicole Smith and Michael Jackson have made clear to the whole world just how dangerous prescription drug abuse can be,” said California Attorney General Jerry Brown in a written statement.