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Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Launches New Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, CURES 2.0

Tuesday, December 22, 2015
Contact: (415) 703-5837, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

SACRAMENTO – Attorney General Kamala D. Harris and the California Department of Consumer Affairs today announced the universal launch of the new Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System (“CURES 2.0”), a state-of-the-art overhaul of California’s prescription drug monitoring program that will allow health providers and pharmacists to more effectively flag at-risk patients and curb prescription drug abuse.

“This innovative prescription drug database ensures that California continues to lead the fight against our country’s prescription drug abuse epidemic,” said Attorney General Harris. “Through the use of new technology, CURES 2.0 will save lives and improve public health while also providing a vastly improved user experience for healthcare professionals, regulatory boards, and law enforcement.”

Starting January 8, 2016, current CURES users logging in with up-to-date and secure web browsers will be automatically redirected to the new 2.0 system.  In anticipation of the launch, Attorney General Harris also sent a letter to members of the medical community urging them to only use secure software to access confidential and sensitive patient information.

“CURES 2.0 will give California’s healthcare professionals who prescribe and dispense potent prescription drugs a powerful tool to better access and utilize patient information to help them identify individuals who are abusing these drugs,” said Awet Kidane, Director of the California Department of Consumer Affairs. “It is a direct result of the hard work and collaboration between the Department of Justice, the Department of Consumer Affairs, and the regulatory boards funding this project.”

The online CURES database enables healthcare providers to review a patient’s medication history before prescribing new drugs, storing prescription records for all controlled substances classified as Schedule II, III, and IV.  Over 5.5 million such requests have been processed so far in 2015 alone. 

In addition to providing users with faster and more reliable access to patient activity reports, the upgraded 2.0 system features cutting-edge analytics for flagging at-risk patients, allowing medical professionals to prescribe wisely and helping to prevent abuse or diversion of controlled medications such as opioids.

“CURES 2.0 is without a doubt the most effective tool for doctors and pharmacists to help curb prescription drug abuse.  Many lives will be saved in California,” said Bob Pack, a patient safety advocate.

By law, all health practitioners licensed to prescribe or dispense scheduled medications are required to sign up for CURES by July 1, 2016.  The launch of the new 2.0 system will also include the release of a new streamlined registration process, which will allow users to apply for access and verify their credentials entirely online using secure web browsers.

CURES 2.0 was implemented through Senate Bill 809, legislation authored by former California State Senator Mark DeSaulnier and sponsored by Attorney General Harris in 2013.

“The U.S. claims less than 5% of the world’s population, but consumes roughly 80% of the world’s opioid supply.  Each day, 44 people in the U.S. die from an overdose of prescription painkillers.  By launching CURES 2.0 and requiring all prescribers and pharmacists to enroll, California will be on the cutting edge of addressing this crisis.  I am proud to have authored this law in the memory of the countless sons and daughters who were lost to this epidemic.  I thank Attorney General Harris and Governor Brown for their years of work to ensure the modernization of CURES is a success,” said Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11).

To learn more about CURES 2.0, visit https://oag.ca.gov/cures-pdmp.

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