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On Tennessee’s new prescription drug law

On Tennessee’s new prescription drug law

Posted: Thursday, January 3, 2013 7:00 pm

By PARIS POST-INTELLIGENCER
Special to the Press
A new Tennessee law complicates procedures for physicians and pharmacists, but it may help to save lives.
The problem is deaths from drug overdose, which are all too common in our state. Last year, The Associated Press reports, Tennessee had 1,062 such deaths. That was the single largest cause of accidental death — more than from vehicle crashes, murder or suicide.
To help cut into that toll, a law that takes effect Jan. 1 requires doctors and others who prescribe opiates like Vicodin or Percocet, or benzodiazepines like Valium, to register with a state database.
Then beginning April 1, with limited exceptions, they will have to check that database every time they prescribe these medications.
Also on Jan. 1, pharmacists will be required to update the database every seven days, compared to the current requirement of 30 days.
The new rule isn’t air-tight. It gets complicated when a patient has been prescribed a drug by a different provider or in a different state. Some patients may be getting different drugs from different physicians and not realizing that a combination of products can be dangerous.
On the whole, though, we hope doctors and druggists will see the law as a way to save life rather than just as a complication. Published in The WCP 1.3.13

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