Virginia law would make all opioid prescriptions electronic by 2020

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia lawmakers want technology to halt the rising tide of opiate addictions. In July, a new Virginia law will begin the process of phasing out paper prescriptions for drugs that contain opiates.

This year, 8News’ coverage has focused extensively on heroin and opioid abuse. Any official you talk to in the state will tell you it’s a public health crisis.

“More teenagers in Virginia — for the first time in our history — died from drug overdoses than from car crashes,” Virginia Beach State Delegate Jason Miyares said.

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This year, Miyares and other delegates worked on a law focused to stop people from hopping from pharmacy to pharmacy.

“They go doctor shopping,” Miyares said. “They’ll get two different prescriptions. The right-hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing. I am a big believer that you can solve a lot of the world’s problems if you just get the right information to the right people.”

Starting in 2020, a new Virginia law will require all opioid prescriptions to be written online. Lawmakers envision all doctors using a common database to track patient’s opioid use.

“The software already exists. That’s the good news,” Miyares said. “The next steps will be educating some of our doctors on some of the steps they need to do when prescribing these opiates.”

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In early June, we introduced you to the Bayview Physicians Group — the first health care system in Virginia to take part in a state funded software called Narxcare. It’s similar to what Miyares and the officials envision for all doctors.

“Literally one click away. Gain access to the information so we can look into the usage of both our altering narcotics, stimulants and sedative-type medications,” Dr. Jeff Forman explained at the time.

Miyares said software like Narxcare is what they will look to make mandatory, but those decisions have not been made yet and they want doctors’ input.

“One of the reasons for the long runway, why this is required by July 1, 2020, is to empower the state to look at it, put together work group,” Miyares said. “We will see what Massachusetts and Maine have done and be able to implement it in the right manner.”

This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.

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