The Opiate Databank: How a Bill Becomes a Law

The Opiate Databank: How a Bill Becomes a Law

The United States is in the midst of an ever-worsening opioid epidemic. As addicted patients and drug dealers continue to seek to abuse narcotic pain medications, it’s up to care providers and legislative bodies to put barriers in their path and prevent opioids from getting into the wrong hands when possible.

Dr. Prunskis has been working to insure judicious prescription habits throughout his entire career. “The idea of having a databank where a physician or a pharmacist could log in and check to see if a patient is getting controlled substances from multiple physicians was one whose time had come,” says John Prunskis, MD, co-owner of the Illinois Pain Institute.

In a video for the Illinois State Medical Society (ISMS), Prunskis explains the process behind the databank bill, and how the voices of a few well-meaning pain physicians banded together with ISMS to affect real change.

The opiate databank law started with a discussion at his local county medical society, Prunskis says. With local support, the group then brought the resolution to ISMS’s annual meeting, where support grew and a few voices became enough to make a difference. The resolution found additional support in the Illinois House and Senate, and the governor signed the Opiate Databank bill into law.

“Now any physician, any pharmacist, can register into the program and look to see if the person in their office is indeed doctor shopping for narcotics or opiates or they have legitimate pain and they’re just acting in a way to try to help their medical condition,” Prunskis says. It’s a small but important step toward curbing the opioid epidemic, and one that Illinois physicians helped achieve by coming together to fight for a common cause.

In 2018, a new law will go into effect requiring all Illinois physicians to have an account with the databank, further strengthening the strides made by Dr. Prunskis and his peers.