E-Prescriptions Rise as Option to Curb Opioid Epidemic

Traditional paper prescriptions present an opportunity for theft and forgery that can lead to drug diversion — a problem amidst the nation’s opioid crisis.

E-prescriptions make it harder for those types of illegal diversions to occur and their use is on the rise in states across America.

Route Fifty reports:

More prescriptions, even electronic ones, might seem like more problems. But in 2010 the Drug Enforcement Administration issued a rule green-lighting electronic prescribing of controlled substances (EPCS) in all 50 states because the process is more secure than pen and paper prescribing. Between 3 and 9 percent of all drug diversion occurs because patients steal pads and forge a doctors’ signatures on paper prescriptions.

New York became the first state to require EPCS on March 27, a response to the national opioid epidemic. So it’s no surprise they rank first in the number of pharmacies and prescribers that are EPCS enabled, as well as e-prescription percentage, according to a recent Surescripts report.

Nationally EPCS increased 600 percent in 2015 with Maine, No. 20,following New York’s lead with a blanket e-prescription requirement and Massachusetts, No. 9, said to be considering one after launching arevamped prescription drug monitoring program earlier this week.

EPCS is one tool in states’ arsenal fighting the opioid crisis, prescription pain relievers and heroin being responsible for 28,647 deaths in 2014 alone and the majority of overdoses since 2000, according to theCenters for Disease Control and Prevention.

Read the full article on Route Fifty for more information.