Pennsylvania bill would require e-prescriptions for opioids

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A Midstate senator hopes to crack down on the drug epidemic. His bill would require e-prescriptions for opioids and make it more difficult for abusers to get them.

Paper prescriptions for opioids could a thing of the past in Pa.

“It starts out with just something innocent. You had an operation, an injury, and you had pain, and understanding trying to get rid of the pain and get back to your life. Unfortunately, so many of these opioids are addictive,” said Sen. Richard Alloway, (R-Franklin, Cumberland, Adams, and York Counties).

Alloway is working on Senate Bill 299. Paper prescriptions for opioids could soon be a thing of the past if his bill becomes law. He hopes to make it tougher for those addicted to doctor shop or forge prescriptions. Pennsylvania allows electronic prescriptions for controlled substances now but does not mandate them. Three other states do.

“This is one main way we can help stop the flow of opioids,” Alloway said. “The handwritten prescriptions can be forged, or they can be not forged and taken out and sold on the street. This way, this is a direct link between the doctor to the pharmacy of choice.”

Chambers’ Apothecary believes the bill could cut down on opioid abuse.

“It’s an outdated system. In 2017, we’re trying to establish handwriting. We’re trying to take care of patients, and medicine isn’t something you want to get wrong,” said Pharmacist Rob Norris, who works at Chambers’ Apothecary in Chambersburg.

Almost 3,400 people died of drug overdoses in 2015. That’s up from more than 2,500 in 2014, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs. Norris believes Alloway’s bill could help reduce those numbers.

“This eliminates a lot of those extra steps of is this even a real script? Now we can just get to the heart of the prescription and the patient,” Norris said.

“We know what’s happening with opioids across the Commonwealth and how there’s been an explosion and addiction and people dying,” Alloway said. “This is one main way we can stop the flow of opioids.”

Surescripts reports three to nine percent of opioid abusers in the United States use forged prescriptions.

Alloway is looking for co-sponsors now and plans to introduce his bill next week.

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