The Times' news articles and editorial on California's prescription drug monitoring program (CURES) demonstrates the importance of this public health tool. As an emergency physician, I frequently use CURES when evaluating patients. It saves lives, decreases addiction, eliminates unnecessary prescription costs and decreases society's costs resulting from overdoses.
Unfortunately, the funding for CURES expired Dec. 31. A reliable funding mechanism is needed immediately. I know physicians who are unable to gain access to CURES because of funding cuts. Furthermore, software improvements are required to improve the system, which is slow and difficult to navigate.
The Times has showed the tragic outcomes from bad or misused prescriptions. The vast majority of physicians and patients are acting as they should. California needs to maintain and improve CURES as a resource for saving lives and decreasing abuse.