Changes could be coming to prescription reporting
GRAVES COUNTY, Ky. — Prescription drug abuse kills 80 people a month in Kentucky. One of the tricks drug abusers use is doctor shopping, going to multiple doctors to get multiple prescriptions for pain.
Kentucky has something called the Kentucky All Schedule Prescription Electronic Reporting database to stop the practice of doctor shopping. The problem is, we've found there's a problem with the system.
Here's a good example. Last week, McCracken County nurse Tonya Rolison was arrested on drug and fraud charges. Deputies say she got painkiller prescriptions from doctors and even two veterinarians for 15 months.
We wondered how someone could get away with this so long with KASPER in place. It turns out, we're not the only ones. Lawmakers wonder, too, and are pushing to fix the system.
Pharmacists like Kelly Whitaker never know where the prescriptions they're filling will end up or if they'll become part of another statistic.
"It does put us and prescribers as well in a spot where it's hard," Whitaker said.
That's why she's proud to be a part of the KASPER advisory council, aimed at fixing the problems in prescription reporting.
"The majority of physicians and pharmacists are not actively using the system," Whitaker said.
Here's the problem: right now, pharmacists like Whitaker are required to report all sales of controlled substances to the KASPER system.
However, only about one-third of doctors and nurses actually check KASPER to see if someone may be doctor shopping.
House Bill 4 would require all medical providers to check with KASPER the first time they write a prescription for a controlled substance for a patient, then check again every quarter if they continue to write one to that same patient.
Whitaker said those changes are long overdue.
One thing she said she doesn't like about House Bill 4: it requires pharmacists and doctors fund the KASPER system. She said that'll make it tough for small pharmacies to make a profit.
The change would also give law enforcement and prosecutors quicker access in identifying so-called pill mills.