Doctors practicing medicine and dispensing prescription painkillers in Massachusetts may be required to register with the state board designed to monitor who’s taking what opiate painkillers, how many, and under whose care. A new law written by state Sen. John Keenan, D-Quincy would improve the efficacy of the statewide prescription drug monitoring system and require all prescribing medical professionals to register and take part.
Massachusetts is already one of many states with a statewide prescription drug monitoring database. Designed to catch patients who have two or more doctors giving them overlapping prescriptions for similar addictive drugs, getting fraudulent prescriptions from emergency rooms, or otherwise procuring fake prescriptions, the database was designed to assist medical professionals in identifying addicted patients so they can help those patients get treatment. It was a voluntary program under the law originally instituted in 2010 but of the 14,000 doctors in Massachusetts, only 1,700 signed up. This new law would make all 14,000 get on board with the program.
The idea is not to be more intrusive in patients’ lives but to help identify the devastating issue of prescription drug dependence before it culminates in an overdose. In many states, more people die due to prescription drug overdose than in car accidents. It’s a serious issue, and lawmakers are trying to figure out a way to get the necessary care to the people who need it.
Massachusetts State Senate President Therese Murray, D-Plymouth, was in support of the new legislation. She said: “This is an important next step in getting a handle on the crisis.”
Why are lawmakers getting involved? Ostensibly, the cost. When patients are addicted to painkillers, they often lose their jobs and end up living off the system. Those who are on Medicare may even have their addiction subsidized by government prescriptions. Plus, there’s the cost of healthcare when prescription drug addiction causes accidents or health problems, or the costs that occur when addiction triggers criminal behavior that requires police time, court time and jail time.
There’s also the personal side; because prescription drug addiction has reached epidemic proportions in this country, it’s rare to meet someone who has not been touched by the issue. In fact, you may be struggling with dependence upon your prescription – or it could be someone you love. If so, we can help you get the treatment you need before it’s too late. Contact us today to locate a prescription drug rehab that can help you heal.