Ryan Holeywell is a staff writer at GOVERNING.E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Oklahoma pharmacists this year have started notifying the state of certain prescriptions they've filled -- within a matter of minutes -- as part of a new state program designed to deter fraud and drug abuse, The Oklahoman reports.
Since 2006, the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control has had a prescription tracking program. But this year, as a result of a 2009 law, all drug dispensers are required to use it to report certain narcotic prescriptions within 5 minutes of dispensing the drugs, the newspaper reports.
The intention of the program is to prevent customers from loading up on prescription drugs from multiple pharmacists.
Drug abuse is a serious issue in the Sooner state. Federal figures reveal that Oklahoma has the highest rate of non-medical painkiller use, and in 2010, there were 579 overdose deaths due to prescription drugs, according to The Oklahoman.
A spokesman for the narcotics bureau told the paper that the database is primarily used as a tool for coordination between doctors, pharmacists and law enforcement officials.