Bill to stem statewide prescription drug abuse signed by Governor

DENVER (April 6, 2017) -- A bipartisan bill proposed by the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) that clarifies the access prescribers and pharmacists have to Colorado’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) database in order to provide them with stronger means to combat the epidemic of prescription drug abuse was signed into law today.

SB17-146 aids Colorado’s licensed prescribers in their clinical decision making by allowing them to access the PDMP database anytime they need to make decisions tied to the overall health and wellness of a patient, not just when considering prescribing a controlled substance defined under current law. The bill was sponsored by Sen. Cheri Jahn (D-Wheat Ridge) and Rep. Joann Ginal (D-Fort Collins) and supports Gov. John Hickenlooper’s strategic action plan to reduce prescription drug abuse, which is the fastest growing drug problem in the United States.

Implementation of the PDMP falls under the Division of Professions and Occupations at DORA.

“Ultimately, this legislation allows for more informed decision-making by the prescribers and pharmacists, and aligns PDMP policy with best practices in other states, including allowing prescribing veterinarians with the ability to detect doctor shopping by patients to obtain controlled substances,” noted DORA Executive Director Joe Neguse.

A recent study by Pew Charitable Trusts showed that successful prescription drug monitoring programs can help change prescriber behavior by identifying patients at a high risk of doctor shopping or diversion, while enabling them to better monitor drug interactions, dangerous side effects and possible abuse issues.

“Prescribers now will be able to access the PDMP as it relates to the overall health needs of a patient and not just when considering prescribing the patient opioids,” Sen. Jahn said. “For example, now veterinarians will be able to check and make sure pet owners are not using their pets in order to obtain opioids. This is a positive step forward to combat the opioid crisis and improve overall patient safety.”

“PDMPs are an important healthcare management tool and it has been demonstrated in other states that their effectiveness is sharpened by allowing users to access the data as a decision- support tool,” Rep. Ginal said. “We’re pleased that the Colorado legislature saw why this type of access for providers is so important to the health and well-being of all Coloradans.”

The bill does not expand access to any user that did not already have access to Colorado’s PDMP. The data in the PDMP is secured through information technology and strict laws on who may access the data, for whom and how.

For more information about the PDMP, visit

About DORA
The Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) is dedicated to preserving the integrity of the marketplace and is committed to promoting a fair and competitive business environment in Colorado. Consumer protection is our mission. DPO, a DORA division, provides consumer protection through its regulation of nearly 400,000 licensees within more than 50 professions, occupations, and entities in the State of Colorado. Visit for more information or call 303-894-7855 / toll free 1-800-886-7675 outside of Denver. 

Media Contact:
Rebecca Laurie
Department of Regulatory Agencies
p: 303-894-2338 | c: 720-724-0612