Legislation approved by the Oklahoma House of Representatives would require physicians to check the prescription history of new patients.
House Bill 2574, by state Rep. Pat Ownbey, would require physicians to check the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics Prescription Monitoring Program when prescribing a controlled dangerous substance to a new patient. Physicians would also be required to do an annual check for all patients.
“We have a cutting edge, real-time prescription monitoring program and doctors can already use it to check a patient’s prescription history,” said Ownbey (R-Ardmore). “My legislation requires doctors to use it so that they can spot patients who may have a dependency problem or may be doctor shopping to get prescription drugs that they can turn around and sell.”
Oklahoma uses about 120 million dosage units of hydracodone each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The state ranks No. 1 in prescription drug usage per capita.
Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics Director R. Darrell Weaver said Oklahoma has a severe prescription drug problem and the prescription monitoring program is a unique tool that will help prevent the misuse of prescription drugs.
“We have seen a 108 percent increase in drug overdose deaths since 2001. Eighty percent of those deaths are due to prescription drugs, not illicit drugs,” Weaver said. “These deaths can be prevented. We believe doctors can get on our online site and help stop this epidemic of drug abuse.”
House Bill 2574 passed by a vote of 66-26 and now proceeds to the Senate for consideration.