Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear has signed into law a bill that aims to curb prescription drug abuse. The measure was opposed by the Kentucky Medical Association, which now says it will educate its members about the new law.
The law requires that all pain clinics be licensed, specifies requirements for ownership and employment, and obliges Kentucky’s licensure board to develop regulations for pain clinics. It gives law enforcement easier access to the state’s prescription drug monitoring database.
Doctors will have to examine patients, take full medical histories, and check electronic prescription records before writing prescriptions for opioids, The Courier-Journal reports. “This bill’s got a lot of great things in it,” Van Ingram, Executive Director of the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy, told the newspaper. “Overall, I’m really excited about it.”
Proponents of the measure said they were disappointed the Kentucky All Schedule Prescription Electronic Reporting system (KASPER) was not moved from the Cabinet for Health and Family Services to the Attorney General’s office. They said the move would lead to a more thorough crackdown on prescription drug abuse.
The Kentucky Medical Association argued the law is a violation of personal privacy. The group’s president, Shawn Jones, said running numerous KASPER reports can be difficult for busy physicians. He said using the system takes him about 10 minutes per patient. Some doctors might stop prescribing painkillers because of the new rules, he added. He noted that the group plans to educate its members about how to follow the law.