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Safe Prescribing
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Between 1997 and 2007 the use of prescription opioids more than quadrupled. Similarly, drug overdose deaths significantly increased for the 11th consecutive year in 2010. Although emergency physicians manage 28% of all acute care visits in the United States, only 5% of all opioid prescriptions are written by emergency physicians. As leaders in health care we want to do our part in reversing this alarming public health trend.
California ACEP has endorsed and is promoting the following safe prescribing guidelines and resources. Together we can increase awareness of this problem among health care providers and patients.
Safe Prescribing Guidelines
California ACEP has endorsed and is promoting the following safe prescribing guidelines and hopes that you will do the same. Together we can increase awareness of this problem among health care providers and patients.


***In October 2018 we updated our safe prescribing guidelines to reflect the work we are doing to expand medication assisted treatment of opioid use disorder in the emergency department.***


Download our safe prescribing guidelines:


For more information and cautions regarding signage and distribution of the safe prescribing handouts, please read our safe prescribing Frequently Asked Questions.
If your organization endorses the attached safe prescribing guidelines, we ask that you contact our office to provide your logo and we will add it to the document. If in the future, your organization wants to make changes to the document, you are authorized to change the phone number. You must remove all logos if you make any changes other than the phone number.
Communicating the Guidelines
We have included resources for you to communicate the guidelines to patients, hospital staff, and local primary care providers. Included in this section is a letter you can use to bring medical staff and local physicians on board with the safe prescribing guidelines, in addition to suggestions for how to communicate with patients about safe prescribing.
Communicating Guidelines to Colleagues
Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System (CURES)
What Is CURES?
CURES stands for the Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System and is part of the California Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP). The Department of Justice provides this web-based program to access patient information of Scheduled II through IV controlled substances. The database includes medications filled by most pharmacies, but there is a delay in inputting data. The state pharmacy board monitors compliance to data entry.


The new CURES 2.0 launched on January 8, 2016. CURES 2.0 users are required to use Microsoft Internet Explorer Version 11.0 or greater, Mozilla FireFox, Google Chrome, or Safari when accessing the system. The upgraded database offers a significantly improved user experience and features a number of added functionalities, including the ability to delegate report queries and new practitioner-identified patient alerts.
Visit for more information about CURES 2.0.
Who Should Use CURES?
It is highly recommended that each provider check CURES before writing a prescription for controlled substances. There is a learning curve to using this website, but once you learn how, it will take you less than one minute to learn a great deal about your patients. As of July 1, 2016, all providers are required to register for CURES.
By checking CURES you can find out:
  • If your patient is not getting enough medication
  • If your patient has other doctors, and prescriptions should be coordinated
  • If your patient is getting extra medications that you are not aware of
Frequently Asked Questions
Click here for a list of Frequently Asked Questions about these Safe Prescribing Guidelines.
Safe Prescribing Partners
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