BOSTON – In response to the continued epidemic of drug abuse and related crime facing Massachusetts’ neighborhoods, State Representative Jeffrey Sánchez and the House of Representative voted unanimously to approve a bill that modernizes the state’s system of reviewing prescription drug activity in order to identify instances of drug diversion and doctor shopping.
The prescription drug monitoring legislation, which originated in the Committee on Public Health chaired by Sánchez, was supported by a broad coalition of law enforcement, clinicians, and representatives of the individuals and families affected by drug addiction and related crime.
“I’m pleased that the House followed the recommendation of my Committee to pass this vital legislation” said Sánchez. “By utilizing available technology to improve the way we track prescriptions, this bill will make it easier for the state to crack down on unscrupulous medical practitioners who provide a steady supply of controlled substances to persons suffering drug addiction. Fewer families will suffer the horrors of drug addiction if we can successfully prevent the illicit prescriptions from ever being filled.”
This bill requires pharmacies to report to the Department of Public Health prescription data at least once every seven days, rather than the current requirement of 15 days after the end of the month that a prescription was dispensed. The bill also expands the list of drugs monitored by the prescription drug monitoring program to include a greater number of controlled substances that have a higher risk for abuse. The bill will now move to the Senate for debate and further action.