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Implementation of CURES Has Arrived

The federal Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) to address the opioid crisis was passed and signed in 2016 with bipartisan support. The passage of CARA included federal grants to help boost state databases that flag patients who may be overusing prescription drugs.

In California, checking a database before prescribing opioids became mandatory with the passage of SB 482 in 2016 by Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens). The law requires physicians to check the state’s Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluations System (CURES) when prescribing Schedule II, Schedule III, or Schedule IV drugs for the first time and at least once every four months thereafter if the substance remains part of the patient’s treatment.

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A provision in SB 482 states that the requirement will not go into effect until six months after the state’s Department of Justice certifies that the CURES database is ready for statewide use. At the time the bill was signed into law in October 2016, certification was expected to occur soon after but eventually experienced delays in its process out of the Attorney General’s office.

Until recently, CURES was scheduled for a certification date in July 2018, meaning that implementation of mandatory use was speculated to begin in January of 2019. What’s happened now is that the Attorney General’s office has announced that as of April 2, 2018, the CURES database is ready for statewide use, having secured adequate staff, user support, and education for its use. With this announcement, it is now confirmed that mandatory CURES consultation becomes effective on October 2, 2018.

In order to be in full compliance, all California licensed prescribers must be registered to access the CURES 2.0 system. Prescribers will also be required to obtain and use tamper-resistant prescription forms ordered only from state-approved security printers.  

CURES User Registration:


Gabriela Villanueva is CAP’s Public Affairs Analyst. Questions or comments related to this article should be directed to