Ohio Gives Drug Court Judges Access To Prescription Database

Nov 7, 2017

A state database meant to help keep doctors and pharmacies on the same page about the prescription of opioids and other drugs is getting some new users.

The Ohio Board of Pharmacy said in a statement Tuesday that drug court judges will now have access to the Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System, or OARRS.

“The use of OARRS by Ohio drug courts gives judges and staff additional monitoring capability that contributes to their effectiveness in helping participants change their behavior,” said Board of Pharmacy executive director Steven W. Schierholt.

The Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System launched in 2006 and helps doctors and pharmacies keep close track of a patient’s prescription history. It’s received increased attention and several updates amid the state’s opioid crisis.

Reasons for expanding access to judges include adding another check on top of random drugs tests, which the pharmacy board says can be “subject to evasion by resourceful and determined drug users.”

The addition of drug court judges also spurred the creation of a new training program.

The pharmacy board says before expanding access to the system, they looked to Kentucky, which has seen success in helping drug court judges track an enrollee’s use of painkillers.

Recent surveys in some Ohio counties have shown most doctors who prescribe opioids use OARRS. Those surveys also showed many doctors have dismissed patients based on database results.

The system still has its flaws. Last year, the Board of Pharmacy compiled a list of 12,000 prescribers who failed to check OARSS before prescribing some controlled substances.