Facing a surge in opioid-related deaths, Massachusetts health regulators moved Wednesday to expand the state’s effort to track potentially addictive drugs by requiring doctors to record every such prescription.
The state Public Health Council also discussed giving more health workers — including physician’s assistants, nurse-practitioners, and psychiatric nurses — access to the database of the Prescription Monitoring Program so they can see a patient’s drug history.
The council, an appointed board of physicians, academics, and consumer advocates, expressed broad support for the proposals and will probably vote on the strengthened monitoring later this year.
The Prescription Monitoring Program, an online database, tracks drug prescriptions and can identify patients who obtain an excessive number of prescriptions for powerful painkillers, such as OxyContin.
The proposal from Governor Deval Patrick’s administration would require physicians who use the database to record prescriptions for commonly abused drugs each time they prescribe them, instead of recording only a patient’s first prescription.
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