“Calling prescription drug abuse an urgent public health problem, California Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris is pushing lawmakers to fund an effort to identify physicians who recklessly prescribe addictive medications.
Harris said in an interview that she wanted to use a state database of prescriptions, known as CURES, to draw a bead on doctors who abuse their prescribing powers, a controversial step discussed for years but never adopted.
CURES, diminished by years of budget cuts, is now used mostly to identify “doctor-shopping” addicts, who feed their habit by obtaining multiple prescriptions from different doctors. Even that type of identification is done on a very limited basis because of the system’s technical shortcomings and bare-bones budget.
Harris, whose office operates CURES, called for upgrading the database and establishing two criminal enforcement teams to investigate suspicious patterns of prescribing.