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Checking opioid database could become a requirement

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (News4Utah) - A bill in the legislature would require doctors to check the controlled substances data base before prescribing opioid painkillers to a patient. The effort is to reduce doctor shopping, and the opioid addiction crisis.

Currently doctors have access to the database, but one lawmaker noted that only about 30 percent use it. House Bill 127 require doctors to look it up a patients past opioid prescriptions. If an audit reveals a doctor is not doing them, their medical license could be in jeopardy.

Rep. Justin Fawson is the bill's sponsor, and notes that with the new database system it would come up while doctors are checking their patients medical history.

"So when a physician pulls up a screen to check the patients record the BMR could actually pull data form the data base and present that on the screen and say this is their history," said Rep. Fawson.

Michelle McOmber of the Utah Medical Association worries that this could be a burned on doctors. She notes other rules were put in place just last year and they haven't had time to see if it's working.

"We think that the bill that we passed last year and the things that we have done through that bill," said McOmber. "The things in that bill are what we had agreed to during the year."

Dennis Cecchini has been an outspoken advocate for solutions to the opioid crisis after his son died of an overdose. He testified during the session that he hopes this will not only prevent doctor shopping, but get people the help they need.

"In identifying addicted suffers for assessment, and early intervention and counseling," said Cecchini.

The bill passed out of committee and now heads to the Senate floor. It's expected to pass and go to the Governor's desk.


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