Beginning today Tennessee doctors prescribing painkillers and other controlled substances are required to check their patients' prescription history to prevent abuse and doctor shopping.
The new requirement signed into law last year put doctors on the front line of Tennessee's battle with some of the nation's highest prescription drug abuse rates. The state's Controlled Substance Monitoring Database has been around since 2006 and now clinicians prescribing any opioid or benzodiazepine are required to check that database first.
Rae Young Bond, director of the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society, told the Chattanooga Times Free Press the checks will be time-consuming, but a great tool. She said the society also is planning more workshops to help doctors learn how to best confront patients they suspect of drug abuse.