Changing the Script on the Opioid Crisis

“I entered the pharmacist profession because I care about people,” says Rodrick Marriott, Connecticut’s Director of Drug Control. “And I left it because I felt I needed to find a different way to do it. And I think I found my way. And I’m really lucky to be here.”

In a recent video interview, Marriott discusses how he and his team are helping the people of Connecticut get the care they need, while also battling an opioid epidemic that has devastated communities across the state. It’s clearly not just a job for Marriott.

Connecticut has been particularly hard hit by the crisis, with a high rate of drug-related deaths across a relatively small state population. Since their Electronic Prescribing for Controlled Substances (EPCS) requirement took effect in 2018, overdose ER admissions dipped and opioid-related deaths have plateaued. Marriott, who is also a pharmacist, was instrumental in creating an effective law that garnered wide buy in from the medical community. In the video, he talks about why the state pushed for an EPCS requirement and offers lessons learned so that other states can successfully implement an EPCS requirement, too.

Earlier this month, Arizona, Iowa, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Rhode Island began to require some form of e-prescribing, which includes EPCS. Many more states are expected to follow suit in advance of the federal mandate, outlined in the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and Communities (SUPPORT) Act, which requires all Medicare Part D covered controlled substance prescriptions be transmitted electronically by 2021. 

“At the end of the day, we’re here for patient care. We want to make sure our patients are protected and safe, but also getting the medications they need,” says Marriott.

For more of Marriott’s story and Connecticut’s success, watch the video. And to learn more about how health information technology can help change the script on the opioid crisis, visit Intelligence in Action. 

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