Connecticut lawmakers tackle opioid addiction through e-prescribing mandate

opioid
A new Connecticut law requires providers to start prescribing opioids electronically in 2018.

A bill proposed earlier this year by Connecticut’s governor to address opioid prescribing has landed back on his desk after successfully passing through the Senate last week.  

A major part of the bill includes a mandate for all healthcare providers to prescribe controlled substances electronically by Jan. 1, 2018. The legislation is expected to be signed by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, which would make Connecticut the fourth state in the country to require electronic prescriptions for controlled substances.

 

"Historically these substances required hard copies or handwritten prescriptions,” Craig Allen, M.D., medical director of Rushford an addiction and mental health services provider in Connecticut told WNPR. “But handwritten prescriptions offer more potential for misuse, or people doctoring a prescription, or faking an amount, or faking a name.”

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The new legislation would also allow state agencies to share data on opioid abuse as part of a prescription drug monitoring program.

A recent report by Surescripts indicated that e-prescribing of controlled substances increased 256% between 2015 and 2016. Last year, New York became the first state to implement mandatory e-prescribing, although that transition was accompanied by several hiccups, including providers that were unable to integrate e-prescribing into their existing EHR system.

Still, healthcare leaders have pushed for broader adoption of e-prescribing. Atul Gawande, M.D., a surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, recently advocated for doctors to utilize e-prescribing, arguing that it would allow physicians to write smaller, individualized prescriptions.