Controlled substances are medications that are regulated by the federal government. They include opioids, benzodiazepines, and stimulants. Over the last 25 years, controlled substances have come under increasing regulatory scrutiny, in part because of the opioid epidemic, and in part because the medical and scientific community has learned more about the risks associated with prescribing and taking controlled substances. Many new rules have been implemented in recent years regarding prescribing, documenting, administering, and storing controlled substances.

Michigan Automated Prescription System (MAPS)

Every time a controlled substance is prescribed in Michigan, such prescription is documented within a computerized system called the Michigan Automated Prescription System (MAPS). MAPS is used by prescribing providers to check whether patients might be engaged in activity that is suspicious for potential addiction, dependency, or diversion of controlled substances. MAPS is used by regulators to identify doctors, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners who prescribe a lot of controlled substances. For example, regulators can search MAPS to identify where a given provider ranks statewide as a prescriber of a particular class of controlled substances. Further, regulators can use MAPS to identify average dosage levels in morphine milligram equivalents (MME) of opioids prescribed by a given provider. LARA can use any information obtained through MAPS to initiate state investigations or as a basis for filing administrative complaints.

The above facts and circumstances have led to a very strict and unforgiving regulatory environment relative to controlled substances. If you are a healthcare provider and have a concern about legal risk or potential exposure to liability relating to prescribing controlled substances, or if you have additional questions regarding legal issues relating to controlled substances, don’t hesitate to contact Douglas Vanden Berge at (616) 233-5127 or

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