Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Applauds Governor for Signing Bill to Upgrade California’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program

Friday, September 27, 2013
Contact: (415) 703-5837, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

SACRAMENTO -- Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today applauded Governor Jerry Brown’s signature of legislation she sponsored to upgrade and expand California’s prescription drug monitoring program.

The Department of Justice’s Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System (CURES) program and Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) allow authorized prescribers and pharmacists to quickly review controlled substance information and patient prescription history in an effort to identify and deter drug abuse and diversion.

“I applaud Governor Brown for signing this important piece of legislation, which allows us to strengthen a critical tool to fight prescription drug abuse in California," Attorney General Harris said.

Senate Bill 809 by Senator Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord) will require all prescribers and dispensers to enroll in and use the system.

“SB 809 is an important step in fighting the prescription drug abuse epidemic,” Senator DeSaulnier said. “Governor Brown’s signature ensures sustainable funding for one of the Department of Justice’s most powerful tools in fighting prescription drug abuse. SB 809 prevents California going from first to worst when it comes to monitoring prescription narcotics. The funding for an upgraded CURES program is a small price to pay when so many lives are at stake.”

Attorney General Harris has worked hard to save the CURES program, which had its funding slashed to almost nothing when the Department of Justice took a $71 million budget cut two years ago. She formed a working group with interested parties to push for an improved prescription drug monitoring system.

SB 809 includes a small increase in the provider license fee of 1.16 percent to pay for the annual cost to operate the program and a one-time assessment on health care plans for the upgrade, which will modernize and improve the information gathering and sharing.

Current funding sources are insufficient to operate and maintain CURES.  If another source of funding is not identified, the program will be eliminated on July 1, 2013.

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