Hospice Patients Alliance: Consumer Advocacy

California Assemblywoman
Helen Macleod Thomson
Introduces Bill To Streamline Pain Control for Patients

California Assemblywoman Helen MacLeod Thomson has introduced a bill in the California Assembly which would help patients obtain their pain medications sooner, without being delayed by bureaucratic "redtape." Current California law (similar to that in many states) requires that the physician's order for narcotic medications be made out on a triplicate paper form. The physician must keep one copy, while the pharmacist keeps a copy and sends the third copy to the U.S. Dept. of Justice. Research has shown that the use of triplicates reduces the use of narcotic medications for patients. Some physicians may simply not want to "bother" with the hassle. Does this make pain-relief easier to provide? Certainly not. However, it is necessary to maintain control of these narcotic medications which are legally "controlled substances."

California has had in place a program of electronic monitoring and reporting of prescriptions of controlled substances called "C.U.R.E.S." ...Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System. The bill introduced by Assemblywoman Thomson would allow for the continuation of the electronic reporting of these narcotic prescriptions, without the hassle of filling out the paper triplicate forms, thereby encouraging physicians to prescribe the medications needed by the patient for their situation.

This is a big step forward which, although technical to the public, will have a deep impact on the ability of patients to receive proper pain management from their physicians, whether in hospice or not.

[..... out of date contact info was here] Some more information about this legislation follows below. You can see the actual text of this legislation by following the links from Assemblywoman Thomson's website to A.B. 2018

        BILL TEXT

INTRODUCED BY   Assembly Members Thomson and Runner
   (Coauthors: Assembly Members Aanestad and Aroner)

                        FEBRUARY 18, 2000

   An act to amend Sections 11164 and 11165 of, and to repeal
Sections 11161, 11167, 11167.5, and 11169 of, the Health and Safety
Code, relating to controlled substances.


   AB 2018, as introduced, Thomson.  Controlled substances:  Schedule
II:  triplicate prescription.
   Existing law provides that no person shall prescribe a controlled
substance, nor shall any person fill, compound, or dispense such a
prescription unless it complies with specified requirements, one of
which is that prescriptions for Schedule II controlled substances
shall be prepared in triplicate.  The Department of Justice is
required to issue these triplicate prescriptions to any practitioner
authorized to write a prescription for Schedule II controlled
   This bill would eliminate the triplicate prescription requirement
for Schedule II controlled substances.  The bill would make
conforming changes to related provisions.
   Existing law provides for the electronic monitoring of the
prescribing and dispensing of Schedule II controlled substances
pursuant to the Controlled Substance Utilization Review and
Evaluation System (CURES) program, as specified.  The program is
scheduled to become inoperative on July 1, 2003.
   This bill would continue the program indefinitely by repealing its
repeal date.
   Vote:  majority.  Appropriation:  no.  Fiscal committee:  yes.
State-mandated local program:  no.



MEASURE :  A.B. No. 2018
AUTHOR(S)       :  Thomson and Runner (Coauthors: Aanestad and Aroner).
TOPIC   :  Controlled substances:  Schedule II:  triplicate

                Majority Vote Required
                Non-State-Mandated Local Program
                Non-Tax Levy

LAST HIST. ACT. DATE:  02/22/2000
LAST HIST. ACTION   :  From printer.  May be heard in committee  March  23.

TITLE   :  An act to amend Sections 11164 and 11165 of, and to
        repeal Sections 11161, 11167, 11167.5, and 11169 of, the
        Health and Safety Code, relating to controlled

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