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Prescription Monitoring Program: New Drug Bill Passed in Massachusetts

Last week, lawmakers in Massachusetts passed a bill that requires doctors to use a state prescription monitoring program. Governor Deval Patrick is expected to sign the bill into law in August, according to state lawmakers.

Currently, the state’s prescription monitoring program is voluntary for doctors. Out of 40,000 prescribers, 1,700 have voluntarily registered.

Should the law be put into effect, drug manufacturers and pharmacies would be required to contact police immediately when they find missing controlled substances and report these findings to the Drug Enforcement Administration. Also, when a minor is hospitalized for a drug or alcohol overdose, a social worker must be provided for the child, and his or her legal guardian must be notified.

In the bill, there is also a “Good Samaritan” clause. This clause states that anyone who calls 911 from the scene of a heroin overdose will receive a great deal of immunity regarding the matter and any drugs found at the scene.

Lawmakers hope this clause will help save lives, because often people do not call 911 at the scene of a heroin overdose for fear of being implicated in criminal drug activity.

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