WARE, Mass. (WWLP) – The state launched its new prescription monitoring program to help prevent drug addiction and overdose deaths.
Thursday, health care professionals gathered at Baystate Mary Lane Hospital to train on this new prescription drug tracking system.
Legislation passed by Governor Baker now requires health care professionals who prescribe opioid pills to use this system, which tracks patients and their opioid history.
“Providers are now required to check the prescription monitoring program, every time they prescribe a narcotic, not just the first time,” said Lynn Ferro, from the Northwestern Drug Abuse Task Force.
A previous system allowed prescribers to track a patient’s opioid history, but it had limitations, such as it only showing history for Massachusetts.
“One of the main differences that we’ll see is more communication, prescribers of prescription medication and pharmacists, as well as other health care providers will be communicating more, and that’s important because patient safety involves that holistic approach to care,” said Cherry Sullivan of Hampshire Hope.
Addiction specialists are now are also worrying about the impact marijuana will have as a gateway drug, now that it’s been legalized here in Massachusetts.
“Our main concern has always been what we know about the impact of marijuana use on the developing teenage brain. The concerns that we have that can have a negative effect,” said Gail Gramarossa, of Quaboag Hills Substance Abuse Task Force.
The new tool for monitoring prescription drugs has already gone into effect.