Controlled-substance prescriptions now being tracked

News Release

For immediate release: October 13, 2011 (11-154)
Contacts: Julie Graham, Communications Office 360-236-4022

Controlled-substance prescriptions now being tracked
Information will help improve patient safety and reduce prescription abuse

OLYMPIA — State health officials are collecting information on purchases of prescription pain medication and other medicines in an effort to reduce abuse and promote safety. The Washington State Prescription Monitoring Program this month began gathering information on medications that have the potential for abuse or addiction.

“Having a patient’s prescription history gives prescribers a more complete view of patient care when they prescribe or dispense controlled substances,” said Secretary of Health Mary Selecky. “This new service is another tool for patient care and safety.”

Information from pharmacies and health care providers who dispense medicine from their offices is gathered and stored in a secure, central database. Beginning in January 2012, health care providers can view the history of their patients’ prescriptions dating back to the week when the data collection began.

With this data in hand, prescribers and pharmacists will be able to intervene with their patients earlier. They can identify dangerous drug interactions, address issues of misuse, and recognize under-managed pain or the need for substance abuse treatment.

The number of people dying from prescription pain medication overdose is growing in Washington. From 2000 to 2010 the overdose death rate involving prescription pain medication more than doubled. Since 2006 deaths in our state from unintentional drug overdoses have surpassed deaths from automobile crashes.

The law allows heath care providers, patients, law enforcement, and others to view the prescription records. More information on the program and the law is available online (

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Prescription drug abuse, deaths target of new Washington law

Washington’s high rate of narcotics abuse got legislators’ attention, but some doctors say new law hobbles legitimate treatments.

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Unused Rx Disposal Event Saturday

Chewelah, WA – Prescriptions for Life is holding a prescription drug take back event on Saturday, Sept. 25 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Akers United Drug, 406 N. Park St. in Chewelah. Anyone with expired or unused prescriptions drug is encouraged to drop them off for destruction. There are more deaths annually from prescription drug abuse than from meth, cocaine and heroin, combined, according to the Washington State Office of the Attorney General. Read More …

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Rx4Life Inspires at National Conference

Chewelah, WA – The local grassroots organization, Prescriptions for Life, packed the hall during their presentation session at the 6th Annual National Alliance for Drug Endangered Children Conference in Spokane, September 23rd. “It was a great experience to be surrounded by so many people from all over the country, sharing in the common cause of helping children who are in tough situations because of drug abuse,” remarked Rx4Life Board Chairman and presenter Jim Tilla. Read More …


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Rx4Life gets hospital support. (September 20, 2007)

In a show of community support and recognition, St. Joseph Hospital awarded the Chewelah-area group, Prescriptions for Life, $5,000 from the hospital’s Community Benefit Fund last week. The funds will support the group’s efforts to “eliminate pain medication abuse in the local community and to provide pain medication monitoring and treatment options.” Read More …

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Attorney General Keynote Speaker at Rx4Life Event (September 22, 2009)

Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna will deliver the keynote address at the Prescriptions for Life ‘Autumn Awareness Dinner,’ October 28, from 6 – 8 p.m. at the Chewelah Golf and Country Club. Dinner tickets for the event are available until October 18th. Read More …

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“Parents Night Out” educates about prescription drug abuse (April 15, 2009)

Trouble started for the Tilla family in 2005 when Jim and Sherry noticed changes in their daughter. Their 16-year-old had always been passionate about sports, but she quit volleyball and softball. It was perplexing to the parents until their youngest daughter suggested that the 16-year-old “was using something.” Only then did the Tillas realize the gravity their child’s changes implicated.” Read more…

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Grass-roots group gets prevention award (July 20, 2007)

The Chewelah-area group, Prescriptions for Life, recently received the “Random Acts of Prevention” award from the Greater Spokane Substance Abuse Council in recognition of the group’s efforts at preventing prescription pain medication abuse. “We were so impressed with how the Prescriptions for Life group rallied around a family and at the same time saw the bigger issue in the community,” said Lisa Demke, Drug-Free Communities Coordinator for the Greater Spokane Substance Abuse Council (GSSAC) Prevention Center. “They took the grass-roots approach and just went for it.”  Read more…

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Foster Teen died of accidental overdose, report says. (Spokesman-Review; May 10, 2007)

A Native American foster child died of an accidental overdose of prescription methadone, the Stevens County Coroner said on Wednesday. Robley “Bobby” Carr Jr., 15, died in December at his home near Valley, Wash. His foster father has a prescription for methadone for a back injury, but it could not be determined where Carr obtained the painkiller.  Read more…

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Local group to speak at regional health conference (March 13, 2007)

The Chewelah-area group, Prescriptions For Life, has been invited to speak at the Northwest Region Rural Health Conference in Spokane on March 22. According to the Washington State Office of Community and Rural Health, the group will be providing the “on-the-ground, grass-roots community response to the issue of prescription drug abuse in Washington state, particularly in rural areas.”  Read more…

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