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Law address prescription of drug overdoses

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POSTED September 27, 2013 9:13 p.m.


SACRAMENTO  (AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday vetoed legislation that would have required county coroners to report drug overdose deaths to the California medical board but signed two other bills intended to address abuse of prescription drugs.

The vetoed bill was from Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, who said it was drafted to help the medical board track overdose deaths and assist officials searching for patterns among those deaths.

The Democratic governor said in a statement that he rejected SB62 over concerns that the state could be required to reimburse local governments for their reporting costs.

Brown said the measures he approved, "along with more vigorous efforts by the board, will help detect and prevent prescription drug abuse without further burdening taxpayers."

The two bills Brown signed into law were drafted in response to a Los Angeles Times investigation regarding deaths from prescription drug overdoses. In nearly half the cases reviewed by the newspaper, the drugs that caused the overdose had been prescribed directly to the deceased, as opposed to drugs that were stolen or prescribed to another patient.

SB670, from Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, makes it easier for the state medical board to inspect patient records after a suspicious death.

Another bill, SB809 by Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, imposes a $6 annual fee on certain medical providers to modernize and maintain California's prescription drug database. The Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System, known as CURES, allows doctors and pharmacists to quickly review patients' substance history to deter drug abuse and to make sure patients are not taking harmful combinations of drugs.

"SB809 prevents California going from first to worst when it comes to monitoring prescription narcotics," DeSaulnier said in a statement. "The funding for an upgraded CURES program is a small price to pay when so many lives are at stake."

 

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