Maine's laws on controlled substances were strengthened yesterday when Gov.Paul LePage signed "An Act to Prevent Opiate Abuse by Strengthening the Controlled Substances Prescription Monitoring Program" into law.
The bill, LD 1646, requires that prescribers participate in the Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) and increases controls on prescription opioids and other controlled substances.
“Surescripts applauds Gov. LePage and the Maine State Legislature for making a significant commitment to battling prescription opioid abuse,” Surescripts EVP and Chief Administrative, Legal and Privacy Officer Paul Uhrig said. “This admirable move is a critical next step in helping prevent opioid abuse and save lives across the state by leveraging technology that is readily available to doctors and pharmacists today.”
The new law requires electronic prescribing of controlled substances (EPCS) for opioids. Paper prescriptions have been an issue with prescription drug abuse, with 3 percent to 9 percent of drugs obtained through fraud or forgery. By using electronic prescriptions, providers and pharmacists can ensure that the appropriate medications reach the patient while reducing prescription fraud.
“Collaborative communication between pharmacists, doctors and the technology companies that serve them will make a difference in the adoption of EPCS and more importantly help curtail the prescription drug abuse epidemic,” Uhrig said. “More work is needed on the part of providers in Maine, but the good news is that the electronic health records (EHR) software systems used by 85 percent of prescribers in Maine are already certified and capable of offering EPCS functionality today.”