State hopes new prescribing requirement helps in fight against opioids

E-prescribing to fight opioid crisis

TUCSON, AZ (KOLD News 13) - A new opioid prescribing mandate aimed at curbing the opioid epidemic is now in place in Arizona’s six largest counties.

Doctors in Maricopa, Mohave, Pima, Pinal, Yavapai and Yuma counties are now required to submit prescriptions electronically using special software.

The process - called e-prescribing - is part of the governor’s opioid epidemic act targeting schedule II opioids like oxycodone, methadone and fentanyl.

Interim director Dr. Steve Dudley at the Poison Control and Drug Information Center on the University of Arizona campus said the new mandate provides many benefits, including tightening doctors’ record-keeping systems.

Dudley said it also eliminates errors and fraud such as paper prescriptions being tampered, lost or stolen. In addition, he said it keeps patients’ personal information from circulating on the paper slips.

Dudley said this new mandate is just one piece to the puzzle when it comes to fighting the opioid epidemic in Arizona and across the United States.

“No singular action is going to cure or fix the opioid epidemic. It’s very complex and nuance. But this is definitely the right step forward in the overall aggregate of actions. It’s one thing that’s part of a bigger plan to address this complex epidemic,” he said.

Smaller, rural counties will be required to implement the changes in the summer unless they apply for a special waiver. Some concerns with e-prescribing include the cost of the software used.

Dudley also said with all new things it will take time to get used to.

Copyright 2019 KOLD News 13. All rights reserved.