California is getting an upgrade to its drug database, hopefully saving time and lives.
The secure website will help track a patient's prescription drug use history, allowing doctors to see controlled substance abuses and any doctor shopping. More than 20 other states are involved in the upgrade.Attorney General Jerry Brown unveiled the system Tuesday in Los Angeles.
Before anyone tells the government to keep its hands off their prescription drugs, be aware, the system has already been in place in California for the last 10 years. The current database -- the Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System (CURES) -- already has about 100 million drug prescriptions, the Los Angeles Times reported:
The upgraded system allows healthcare professionals to instantly track a broad range of controlled substances, including anti-anxiety medications, painkillers and sedatives through the Internet. It also gives law enforcement officials access to the database to combat prescription drug abuse.
The CURES system, which has been in use for a decade, contains the name of every doctor that prescribes controlled medicines, the person for whom the drug is prescribed, the quantity and the date.
Before the upgrade, requests for information from doctors and pharmacists were handled by fax or phone and could takes days to complete. Brown's office handled more than 60,000 requests annually for such information.
Brown has been a proponent of the upgrade since the death of Anna Nicole Smith and subsequent death of Michael Jackson. Both cases centered on the use of prescription drugs.