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Officials Revamp Drug Database, Hoping To Curb Rx Abuse

Erik Neumann / KUER
Melanie Wallentine is the database program manager of the Controlled Substance Database.

An underused database to track prescription opioid abuse has been updated and streamlined for doctors in Utah.

The Controlled Substance Database tracks the dosage of opioids patients are given by pharmacists and which pharmacies they’re coming from. The goal is to stop people from doctor shopping or being unintentionally given dangerous combinations of prescriptions.

But doctors weren’t using it before. The Department of Commerce said in 2016 less than 30 percent of doctors and pharmacists licensed to use it, did so. A frequent criticism is the software is too slow.  

Melanie Wallentine, the database program manager, says they’re fixing that with updated software. 

"We are providing ways to increase it by talking with providers and by things like the controlled substance database patient dashboard," Wallentine says. 

That new dashboard will quickly flag risk factors for doctors when they’re deciding what to give patients.

Wallentine says the new update will also help with its speed.

"It is a lot faster. It’s much faster," she says. 

Ultimately, the database is a voluntary tool for doctors to use. The updated version goes live tomorrow. 

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