Governor Signs Santiago Bill to Help Combat Opioid Addiction

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

(Sacramento, CA) Assembly Bill 40 was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown yesterday. The measure, authored by Assemblymember Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles), allows California’s Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System (CURES) to finally integrate with health information technology systems across the state.

"By all accounts, California and the nation are in the middle of a staggering opioid crisis," said Assemblymember Miguel Santiago, a member of the Assembly Health Committee. "I'm proud to have worked on this important bill to ensure that all care providers are on the same page when it comes to a patient's prescription information. I'm glad the Governor agrees that it's time to move forward technologically in this arena."

CURES was established in 2009 for electronic monitoring of Schedule II, III and IV controlled substance prescriptions for law enforcement purposes and has been an active tool for the Department of Justice and others to prosecute doctors prescribers operating outside the law and to crack down on people who “doctor shop” for prescriptions. In the past decade, however, the overuse of prescription opioids has become a significant national public health problem with many California communities face rising rates of opioid related deaths. CURES, has been, and will continue to be, a critical tool to helps combat prescription drug abuse.

Currently, the CURES database is accessed manually via the CURES webpage. This can be a time consuming step for healthcare providers and pharmacists. There are a number of health information technology systems which aggregate patient information from multiple health systems. This cumulative information gives providers a more complete account of the patient’s medical background. Under AB 40, these systems will be integrated with CURES to “push” the information to a registered user.

AB 40 was sponsored by the California American College of Emergency Physicians and supported by, the California Medical Board, the California State Board of Pharmacy, California Medical Association and California Dental Association, among others. The measure requires health information technology systems to integrate with CURES no later than October 2018.

Assemblymember Miguel Santiago is the Chair of the Assembly’s Communications and Conveyance Committee and a member of the Assembly Committee on Health. He represents the 53rd District composed of the cities of Los Angeles, Huntington Park, and Vernon.

CONTACT: Jackie.Koenig@asm.ca.gov, (916) 319-2053