New initiative to fight opioid abuse in Massachusetts goes into effect

The system allows faster access to patient information and will prevent doctor shopping

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Before a doctor can prescribe a patient an opioid prescription, they must first check the state’s website.

Saturday, the state’s new and improved prescription monitoring program, known as “MassPat” went into effect. The Massachusetts Prescription Awareness Tool, or MassPat, is intended prevent opiate abuse.

Easthampton Mayor Karen Cadieux told 22News, “There is no area that has not been hit by addiction. I think that’s probably one of the most surprising things to me, that people think it might not be in their area. It is everywhere and has been for quite some time.”

Every physician who prescribes schedule 2 and 3 narcotics is now required to check MassPAT first, to see what other prescriptions the patient might have.

And now, doctors can check prescription history, in other states.

Western Massachusetts is less than 15 minutes from the Connecticut line. A patient could easily cross state lines and get another prescription from a provider that doesn’t have their medication history.

Before this new system, a patient could easily cross state lines and get another prescription from a provider and no one would know.

The system allows faster access to patient information and will prevent doctor shopping. Holyoke, Easthampton, and cities and towns across Massachusetts hope that this new prescription monitoring program will help crack down on the opioid epidemic in Massachusetts.

Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse told 22News, “I hear so many stories from people, from all walks of life, talking about the fact that prescription painkillers have been a gateway to heroin and other substances.” He goes on to say, “No doubt it will have an impact on opioid abuse in Western Massachusetts and across the commonwealth.”

The state spent about $6 million in upgrades to make the system more user friendly and efficient for prescribers.