Oklahoma Bill Would Combat Prescription Drug Overdose

                               Oklahoma City, OK (WorkersCompensation.com) - Under legislation by state Rep. Pat Ownbey, physicians could not prescribe a controlled substance without first using the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics Prescription Monitoring Program to see what has already been prescribed to their patient by other doctors.

House Bill 2574 would reduce “doctor shopping” and innocent mistakes made by patients, Ownbey said.

“The Prescription Monitoring Program is in place and already being used to fight prescription fraud, doctor shopping and drug overdose,” said Ownbey (R-Ardmore). “My bill would require that physicians look at a patient's history and see how many doctors have prescribed controlled substances to them. This would let them know if the patient may have a drug problem or was doctor shopping in order to sell a drug. They would then know better than to prescribe the patient any controlled substance.”

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 and more than 800 Oklahomans died last year due to prescription drug overdose, Ownbey said.

“Oklahoma is the only state in the nation with its own ‘real time' prescription monitoring program, as of January,” Ownbey said. “This system serves as a stop-gap measure if physicians or their staff would just take a moment to get on the system to see if the patient is a doctor shopper, obtaining prescriptions from a number of doctors. By doing this one thing, I believe it will eliminate some of the overdose and prescription drug abuse we currently have. I believe doctor shopping is a huge problem and this will go a long way towards stopping this problem.”

Ownbey said the system is online and takes about 90 seconds to run a check, so it will not be an undue burden on doctor's offices.

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