New law to fight against prescription drug abuse takes effect

6:59 PM, Apr 1, 2013   |    comments
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A new state law requiring doctors to check a patient's drug history before prescribing certain medications is now in effect.

Anthony Wilson, M. D. said, "I think it's important and I think it is something that's going to help with the drug problem that Tennessee and many states have been facing."

Dr. Wilson is the assistant professor for the University Of Tennessee Graduate School Of Medicine and said prescription drug abuse is one of the biggest problems facing the medical community, with a significant rise in the number of drug-related deaths over the past decade. Dr. Wilson is a big supporter of the state's Controlled Substance Monitoring Database (CSMD).

He said, "I think this will help curb some of that. It'll keep a lot of the illegal uses of these medications down."

Jeffery Tuck, J. D., R.N. is the vice president and general counsel for Summit Medical Group. He said, "If our physicians looked at the database on the website and saw the patient they were about to prescribe a pain medication for had receive a pain medication from another physician and the patient did not reveal that to the physician writing the prescription then it could be considered doctor shopping."

Tennessee law defines "doctor shopping" as a patient who receives the same or similar medication from another physician within 30 days.

Dr. Tuck said doctors with Summit Medical Group have been training since the beginning of the year on how to use the database.

"When they check the database they should indicate in the patient's medical record that a new prescription is being issued today, here's why I think the patient needs the prescription, and that I have checked the controlled substance database," said Dr. Tuck.

Dr. Wilson said UT doctors have also been practicing for several months and have found people trying to cheat the system. He said, "This is not designed to keep medications away from patients who truly need them. This is only designed to keep medications out of the hands of those who would misuse them."

If doctors do not follow the new state law, Tennessee's Department of Health can issue fines and revoke licenses.

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