Patient safety is top-of-mind for health care providers. That’s why certain policies and guidelines are in place, including around prescriptions you receive from pharmacies.
Recently, a Wisconsin pharmacy law was updated to help better ensure prescription safety of those who use certain medications. The law now requires these mailed-out prescriptions to have a signature at delivery.
You, or someone in your household, will now need to sign for any schedule II or III medications at delivery
Medications that fall under one of these categories will no longer be delivered without a signature.
- Examples of schedule II medications are: Ritalin, Adderall, Vicodin, Percocet and Hydrocodone
- Examples of schedule III medications are: testosterone, ketamine or suboxone
Pharmacies also can no longer take schedule II prescription changes verbally. Your provider has to send a new electronic or paper prescription to the pharmacy to make corrections. This includes small changes to your prescriptions.
“This is an important step to prevent diversion of controlled substances. It will help make sure that controlled substances are being used for appropriate medical purposes only,” said Sarah Rall, core line administrator with pharmacy operations for Marshfield Clinic Health System.
At Marshfield Clinic Health System, you will receive a call one day prior to your prescription’s shipment. If you don’t answer, the pharmacy will attempt to leave a message to alert you that your medication prescription delivery will require a signature.
“The pharmacy does understand that this change in Wisconsin pharmacy law will make it more difficult for patients to receive their prescription, as someone will need to be home to sign for them,” Rall said. “However, this change is designed to help combat the opioid and other controlled substance epidemic we’re facing.”
The opioid epidemic is a growing concern in the United States
Drug use, abuse and overdose are worsening problems in the United States.
In 2020, there were 1,227 deaths in Wisconsin related to opioids, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.* The opioid epidemic affects all genders, races and age groups across Wisconsin.
Data shows the number of fatal overdoses of opioids and other drugs surging in 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to PBS Wisconsin. Changes including isolation and disruptions to life-saving social services caused an already-rising number of overdose deaths to surge.
Marshfield Clinic Health System offers substance abuse services through Family Health Center of Marshfield, Inc., a federally funded community health center. The Health System also has a full range of mental health services that may be useful to individuals and families struggling with drug addiction, misuse or overdose.
*The last full year of data available.
You can help keep yourself and those around you safe
“One important thing to remember with prescription medications of any kind is to not keep unused medications around the house. Know how to safely dispose of those prescriptions,” Rall said. “We have drug take-back receptacles in each of our pharmacies where patients can dispose of unused medications.”
Additional steps patients can take to help ensure prescription safety include:
- Following the directions explained by the label or the pharmacist.
- Knowing how the prescription interacts with other drugs or alcohol.
- Discussing with your health care provider before stopping or changing a dosage of a prescription.
- Not using another person’s prescription medication or sharing yours with others.
- Storing your prescriptions safely.
Requiring a signature for prescription delivery isn't going to reduce the amount of those types of drugs getting on the street any more than just leaving it in the mailbox is now. The amount of additional handling steps required from order to delivery of each of those type prescriptions just doubled, and may have tripled if it doesn't get delivered on the first attempt. That additional time results in more stress on every person who touches that order, as if short-staffed pharmacies and postal offices need any more bureaucracy to deal with! Which group of overpaid brainstormers came up with this non-solution to drug overdoses?
Think:. How often are patients and residents of healthcare facilities either overdosed or given someone else's medication accidentally by overworked, short-staffed , exhausted nurses and aids in those facilities? Most go unreported. People are dying.
I've been signing for prescriptions for over 2 years now so I'm not understanding what this change is.