The Story: Following a protracted battle, on September 15 Vermont became the final state to allow e-prescribing for all controlled substances, including Schedule II painkillers such as oxycodone, hydrocodone and morphine. This is an important step forward in the fight against prescription fraud and drug abuse.

NACDS has long advocated for the use of e-prescribing technology…


In 2010, the Drug Enforcement Administration legalized electronic transmission of all controlled substances, with several conditions. It took five more years for all states to modernize their prescribing laws and regulations to permit electronic controlled substances prescriptions, and for technology vendors to develop systems that complied with the DEA rules, which require, among other things, two-factor authentication.

The Specifics

NACDS has long advocated for the use of e-prescribing technology because it is more efficient and improves the accuracy of prescriptions. Through e-prescribing practices, pharmacies have worked to improve the quality of patient care and deliver efficient and cost-effective care to patients. The DEA-approved electronic process provides much more protection from diversion than the current system of paper and oral prescriptions, and makes it easier for patients to get the medications they need, while helping to prevent fraud and abuse.

The Upshot

Making e-prescribing of controlled substances legal nationwide is a critical step and a contributing factor in helping to prevent prescription drug abuse. The next step is for physicians in every state to adopt and use the technology.