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New Policy Regarding Review of Monitored Drug History Before Prescribing

Canada is the second largest prescribing nation of opioids in the world. Nova Scotia is among the provinces with the highest rates of opioid prescribing. The harm associated with the growing abuse and misuse of monitored drugs such as opioids is a significant public health and safety issue.

At its March meeting, the Council of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia approved a new policy regarding the prescribing of monitored drugs by physicians in the province. The policy states:

When caring for patients in episodic, urgent or emergent care settings, physicians must review the patient’s drug profile as maintained by the NSPMP prior to prescribing narcotics or any controlled drugs or substances.

“Our aim is to promote and support appropriate prescribing. It is a public safety issue and our professional responsibility. This policy is an important step to achieving that goal,” said Dr. Gus Grant, Registrar and CEO of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia.

Dr. Grant serves as the program chair of the Nova Scotia Prescription Monitoring Drug Program (NSPMP) which promotes the appropriate use of monitored drugs in Nova Scotia. The NSPMP offers real-time data regarding prescribing habits. Nova Scotia physicians can access the prescription medication profile of their patients at any time through the program’s online eAccess database.

“This new policy represents another important step in our efforts to reduce the abuse and misuse of prescription drugs in Nova Scotia. Understanding a patient’s monitored drug history will better position providers to make informed decisions when prescribing medications and NSPMP is committed to supporting them through the implementation,” said Kevin Lynch, Manager of NSPMP.

In order to communicate this new policy to physicians, the policy will come into effect June 1st of this year.


Ryan Demings
Communications Officer
College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia
Phone: 902-482-2919