Arizona is the next state that is mandating e-prescribing of controlled substances. States in various parts of the country are jumping on board to help combat the growing opioid epidemic in the United States. In 2017, Arizona recorded the highest number of overdose deaths ever, prompting the government to take action.
According to the Arizona government, 75% of current heroin users in treatment began their abusing painkillers driving officials to start solving the problem from the source – prescription medications. Governor Doug Ducey declared a state of emergency in June of 2017 and since has mandated the use of the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP).
Prescribers were required to review a patient’s medication history for the previous 12 months within Arizona’s PDMP database before prescribing a controlled medication. Then prescribers must report a newly prescribed controlled medication to the PDMP. The goal of prescribers checking the PDMP before prescribing a substance is to help pinpoint which patients are doctor shopping and decrease the number of controlled substances being prescribed.
To help combat opioid abuse even further, the AZ Government has declared the mandatory use of a certified Electronic Prescribing solution by January 1, 2019, when prescribing Schedule II opioid substances. Implementing the required use of an e-prescribing solution will reduce paper prescriptions which are too commonly stolen, altered, and forged to create fraudulent prescriptions. A waiver will be accessible by prescribers who face hardships and other unusual circumstances.
In addition to the mandatory use of PDMPs and e-prescribing solutions, prescribers will be required to attend at least three hours of opioid-related Continuing Medical Education (CME) yearly.