New state law will require doctors to submit electronic prescriptions for opioids

Posted at 10:09 PM, Jan 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-01 23:41:08-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn (WTVF) — Several state laws went into effect on New Year's Day but a year-long extension was given to medical professionals for one of Tennessee's new laws which will change the way they write prescriptions for opioids.

One local pharmacist says the law is about keeping powerful painkillers out of the wrong hands.

Starting in one year, doctors in Tennessee will be required to electronically submit prescriptions for opioids to pharmacists. The idea is to cut down on prescription drug abuse. Dr. Shawn Pruitt has been a neighborhood pharmacist for many years, and in his time he has seen the state's opioid crisis climb.

"Sometimes you're going to run into issues when you fill opioid prescriptions," said Dr. Pruitt. "One of those things are having to deal with people who may be wanting to write prescriptions for themselves. This is something we call forgeries where you’re forging the name of the doctor and the signature and all of that; so I think this new legislation would go a long way toward helping that."

It's a problem many pharmacists have witnessed first-hand. State lawmakers passed the law in 2019 requiring medical doctors to do electronically submit their patients prescriptions of writing for some powerful painkillers.

The law was set to go into effect in 2020 but it was delayed a year to make sure everyone is on the same page. The law is focusing on controlled substances like methadone and oxycodone all the way down to drugs like cough medicines with codeine.

"There's no pharmacy hopping, there's no doctor shopping, there's no ability for the patient to write a prescription for themselves," said Pruitt, who belives this will help put a big dent in drug diversion in Tennessee.