Frequently, Injured Workers’ Medical Reports have the word “CURES” contained within it. This article will discuss what “CURES” means and the significance it has with respect to an Injured Workers’ claim and their access to treatment.

What is CURES?

The Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System (CURES) “is a database of Schedule II, III and IV controlled substance prescriptions dispensed in California serving the public health, regulatory oversight agencies, and law enforcement. CURES 2.0 is committed to the reduction of prescription drug abuse and diversion without affecting legitimate medical practice or patient care.” Office of Attorney General, State of California.

In sum, Patients who are prescribed “controlled substances” will be tracked in a database.

What are Controlled Substances?

Per the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), “Drugs, substances, and certain chemicals used to make drugs are classified into five (5) distinct categories or schedules depending upon the drug’s acceptable medical use and the drug’s abuse or dependency potential.” For an alphabetical list of controlled substances, here is the link:

What Are Schedule II Drugs? 

Per the DEA, “Schedule II drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with a high potential for abuse, with use potentially leading to severe psychological or physical dependence. These drugs are also considered dangerous. Some examples of Schedule II drugs are: Combination products with less than 15 milligrams of hydrocodone per dosage unit (Vicodin), cocaine, methamphetamine, methadone, hydromorphone (Dilaudid), meperidine (Demerol), oxycodone (OxyContin), fentanyl, Dexedrine, Adderall, and Ritalin.”[emphasis added]

What Are Schedule III Drugs? 

Per the DEA, “Schedule III drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with a moderate to low potential for physical and psychological dependence. Schedule III drugs abuse potential is less than Schedule I and Schedule II drugs but more than Schedule IV. Some examples of Schedule III drugs are: Products containing less than 90 milligrams of codeine per dosage unit (Tylenol with codeine), ketamine, anabolic steroids, testosterone.” [emphasis added]

What Are Schedule IV Drugs? 

Per the DEA, “Schedule IV drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with a low potential for abuse and low risk of dependence. Some examples of Schedule IV drugs are: Xanax, Soma, Darvon, Darvocet, Valium, Ativan, Talwin, Ambien, Tramadol.” [emphasis added]

Who Has Access To CURES? 

According to the State of California, “CURES 2.0 is limited to licensed prescribers and licensed pharmacists strictly for patients in their direct care; and regulatory board staff and law enforcement personnel for official oversight or investigatory purposes.” Office of Attorney General, State of California.

What Does This Mean to Injured Workers? 

During your treatment for your industrial injury, your doctors may prescribe controlled substances that are subject to the CURES laws. This means that your prescriptions will be monitored with respect to drug abuse and diversion. Drug abuse applies to misuse by the individual patient. Diversion applies if the drugs prescribed are being distributed by the patient to other individuals. In sum, if your doctor is complying with CURES, your prescriptions, that are controlled substances with the reporting requirements, are being monitored.

Further, your medical provider may search CURES to see what medications you are taking. This allows them to make appropriate prescriptions in compliance with the mandate concerning drug substance abuse and drug diversion. They may document that they have done a CURES search within their medical reporting. Also, this search may alert your medical provider with respect to the need to address possible issues of addiction or substance abuse with respect to your course of treatment.

Is There Any Privacy Concerning CURES? 

Yes. Per the State of California “[t]he Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) and confidentiality and disclosure provisions of California law cover the information contained in CURES 2.0.” Office of Attorney General, State of California.

What Information Is Contained In CURES?

Per the State of California, “California Health & Safety Code Section 11165(d) requires dispensing pharmacies, clinics, or other dispensers of Schedule II through IV controlled substances to provide specified dispensing information to the Department of Justice on a weekly basis.” Office of Attorney General, State of California.

For Injured Workers who are receiving “scheduled medication,” if it is a particular “scheduled drug,” it will be submitted to the CURES database.

What If I Need Legal Advice?

If you would like a free consultation concerning any workers’ compensation case, please contact the Law Offices of Edward J. Singer, a Professional Law Corporation. They have been helping people in Central and Southern California deal with their worker’s compensation cases for 28 years. Contact us today for more information. Click Here.

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