Haslam signs Tennessee Prescription Safety Act

Haslam signs Tennessee Prescription Safety Act

Gov. Bill Haslam signed the bill at the Anderson County Courthouse. Gov. Bill Haslam signed the bill at the Anderson County Courthouse.

6 News Reporter

CLINTON (WATE) - Gov. Bill Haslam signed the Tennessee Prescription Safety Act of 2012 today in Anderson County.

"Unfortunately we have a scourge or even an epidemic of prescription drug abuse in Tennessee and East Tennessee might be the worst," explained Gov. Haslam. 

The bill will require pharmacists and doctors to register with the Controlled Substance Monitoring Database and then they will be required to check a patients history before prescribing pain medications.

"It's really a way to double and triple check to make sure the patient that's getting [the prescription] is the one it's intended for and that they're not out doctor shopping," said the governor.

The legislation was part of Haslam's 2012 legislative agenda. It came from the Public Safety Action Plan announced in early January.

The multi-agency plan is designed to improve public safety statewide.

Doctors must start using the database by April 2013 and pharmacies by next January. But some are already inputting and tracking prescription information.

"I'm always trying to watch out and get to know my customers and I wish every pharmacist would take that on because this is  battle we've all got to fight together," said Mollie Hoskins Scarbrough, a pharmacist at Hoskins Drug Store in Clinton.  

But the bill does have its limitations.

"This bill is going to help with doctor shopping which is great but like in my brother's case, he kept up a drug habit for four years and never went to the doctor," said Jessica Akhrass. Akhrass lost her brother to a prescription drug overdose. While she wants stronger restrictions, including limiting the number of pills doctors can prescribe at a time, she understands this is a step in the right direction.

 "We didn't get into this situation over night and were not going to get out of it overnight," she said.





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