Los Angeles Times: California bills aim to tackle opioid addiction by curbing excessive prescriptions

Looking to combat the opioid abuse epidemic, a Silicon Valley legislator has introduced a slate of bills meant to clamp down on access to highly addictive prescription drugs.

Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Campbell) authored three measures meant to provide a better understanding of patients’ access to these medications, building on an existing state database tracking prescriptions in California.

“I don’t think there’s enough attention at the issue at hand, which is the system is not working,” Low said.

One proposal by Low would enable California’s database, called CURES, to link up with those in other states in order to trace “doctor shopping” for multiple opioid prescriptions in multiple states.

Another would require pharmacies to report dispensed prescriptions to the database within 24 hours, instead of the current timeframe of seven days.

The third bill would add more regulations to the printing of prescription pads in order to cut down on fraudulent prescriptions.

“We need to hold our health providers accountable for ensuring the health and safety of the patients they’re fundamentally attempting to serve,” Low said. “Without this data, without this accountability and transparency, how are we able to say, ‘OK prescriber, here is where you went wrong.’”

Opioid abuse has surged into a national crisis, though it has not been as acute in California as in other states. Kaiser Health News reported Thursday that while overdose deaths have soared in other states, the death rate has plateaued in California.