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Pharmacy Board Partners with Supreme Court of Ohio to Enforce Drug Court Conditions

Published: Feb 19, 2021 by Brandon Smith

The Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System (OARRS) was developed as a tool to track the prescribing and dispensing of controlled substance prescriptions. At its core, OARRS is a database of all outpatient prescriptions for controlled substances dispensed or personally furnished by Ohio providers and pharmacies. This database allows providers to view detailed information on a patient’s controlled substance prescription history and is intended to stop drug-seeking behavior and over-prescribing of controlled substances. It also assists with avoiding dangerous drug interactions and can be used as a tool to investigate drug diversion and insurance fraud.

Since 2017, drug court programs have had access to OARRS to monitor participant’s controlled substance prescriptions.

This week, the Supreme Court of Ohio and State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy announced a partnership to flip this on its head. In addition to informing drug court programs of participants’ prescriptions, OARRS will now also inform providers of their patient’s participation in drug court programs. The Supreme Court will report information on active, adult, drug court participants to OARRS. Once this information is added to OARRS, it will be visible to any provider searching their patient to ensure that a prescription for controlled substances is appropriate treatment.

This partnership co-opts every provider and pharmacist in Ohio to be an extension of the drug court system. Will providers be held professionally liable or face professional discipline from their licensing boards for prescribing a controlled substance to a drug court participant? Will this information lead to a chilling effect that hurts patients who could have benefited from appropriate medical treatment, but did not receive it because their physician saw their criminal history?

OARRS was developed as a tool to assist providers in securing positive healthcare outcomes and developing appropriate treatment plans for their patients by stopping drug-seeking behavior and providing opportunities for early intervention–before law enforcement got involved. Now, it will also be a tool imposing the criminal justice system into the doctor-patient relationship.

If you have questions regarding this new partnership, or OARRS compliance in general, you should consider contacting one of the experienced attorneys at Graff & McGovern, LPA. Attorney Brandon Smith is available at (614) 228-5800, ext. 7 and