ARIZONA NEWS

Paper prescriptions for certain opioids no longer allowed in Arizona

Jan 4, 2020, 4:15 AM | Updated: 11:04 pm

(Cronkite News Photo)...

(Cronkite News Photo)

(Cronkite News Photo)

PHOENIX – As part of Arizona’s response to the opioid epidemic, a state law banning paper prescriptions for certain painkillers went into effect across the state when the calendar turned to 2020.

As a result, health care professionals are now, in most cases, required to submit prescriptions to pharmacists electronically for schedule II controlled opioids, including OxyContin, Percocet and Vicodin.

The provision, intended to crack down on forged prescriptions, was part of a comprehensive bill signed by Gov. Doug Ducey in January 2018 to combat the opioid crisis.

The e-prescription mandate was initially set for rollout last year, but a February 2019 bill pushed the deadline to Jan. 1, 2020.

The February bill also provided exemptions to the e-prescription requirement for when the electronic systems aren’t functioning properly.

Additionally, paper prescriptions for the restricted drugs are still allowed in Indian Health Service, Veterans Administration and military facilities.

From June 2017 through the end of 2019, opioids, including illegal drugs, were suspected in more than 3,800 deaths in the state, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.

Ducey declared a state health emergency in 2017, a year after more than two Arizonans a day died from opioid overdoses.

That led to the Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act, the wide-ranging 2018 bill aimed at reducing overdoses and deaths involving prescription painkillers.

In August 2019, the state reported a 13% drop in opioid prescriptions.

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Paper prescriptions for certain opioids no longer allowed in Arizona