Maine becomes second state to require electronic prescribing for controlled substances
Maine Gov. Paul LePage has signed into law a bill that mandates electronic prescribing for controlled substances. Maine is the second state to do so. In New York the mandate took effect on March 27.
“An Act To Prevent Opiate Abuse by Strengthening the Controlled Substances Prescription Monitoring Program” requires prescriber participation in the Prescription Monitoring Program and sets limits for the strength and duration of opioid prescriptions, beginning January 2017.
The law also calls for prescribers to undergo addiction training every two years.
LePage introduced the legislation after meeting with the widow of a working man who was over-prescribed opiates following a workplace injury. The man became addicted to the medication and eventually moved to heroin use, which led to his untimely overdose death, according to a statement from the governor’s office.
“Heroin addiction is devastating our communities,” LePage said in a statement. “For many, it all started with the overprescribing of opioid pain medications.”
The new law also makes Maine the third state in the nation to set a cap on the daily strength of opioid prescriptions.
In an effort to prevent diversion and abuse, the legislation caps scripts for acute pain at seven days and for chronic pain at 30 days beginning in January 2017.
“This admirable move is a critical next step in helping prevent opioid abuse and save lives across the state by leveraging technology that is readily available to doctors and pharmacists today,” e-prescription tech company Surescripts Chief Administrative, Legal and Privacy Officer Paul Uhrig said in a statement.