Fentanyl overdose deaths can be prevented by prescription monitoring system, report says

published on November 24, 2015 by Rick Cluff in CBC News

Less than 30% of doctors in BC use Pharmanet, the software that keeps track of a patient’s prescriptions

A new report published today is calling for tighter regulations on physicians prescribing drugs, especially opioids like fentanyl or oxycontin – something it says will reduce the number of fatal overdoses and addiction cases in BC

More people in BC die from opioid overdoses than in car accidents involving alcohol and drugs every year, according to the report by the Urban Health Research Initiative and the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS.

Vancouver Coastal Health says more doctors need to use the prescription monitoring system, PharmaNet. The report says less than 30 per cent of doctors use the software, which keeps track of a patient’s prescription history, helping doctors avoid dangerous drug interactions or over-prescribing.

“We have hundreds of people per year dying in this province from opioid overdoses from prescriptions that essentially, at the very front end, are coming from physicians,” said Dr. Evan Wood, medical director of addiction services at Vancouver Coastal Health. “We need a whole system-wide shift to improve safety.”

He says the practice of checking a patient’s prescription history is already mandatory in Nova Scotia, something BC could implement too.

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