OAKLAND, Calif. (KTVU) – A family whose two children were killed by a drug-impaired driver won a battle to change California law.
Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 482 into law Tuesday. The new law will require all doctors to check a statewide database to ensure patients are not receiving excessive amounts of prescription drugs.
For Bob and Carmen Pack the call from Governor Brown's office was an emotional end to a long battle.
"I pass every day for the 13 years. I reflect on it every time I pass. I can't help but think of them," Bob Pack said as he stood near the spot on Camino Tessajara Road where his 10-year-old son Troy and seven-year-old daughter Alana were killed when a drug-impaired driver hit them on the sidewalk in October 2003. They had gone on a simple Sunday walk with their mother to the ice cream store.
"I made sure they were wearing helmets and they had their scooters and their bikes. I was with them. We were very safe. I thought we were very safe. Beautiful day and um, you can never imagine that a car would go on the sidewalk like that," Carmen Pack said.
Bob Pack remembers arriving at the horrible scene.
"It was a very difficult memory crawling on the ground trying to save them," Bob said.
The loss was made more difficult, when they learned the driver had had her license suspended nine times and she had obtained prescription opiods from six doctors at the same hospital.
"None of them knew, or were talking to each other, or knew they were over-prescribing and never sharing a medical file. And that's what alarmed me. And said I need to do something about this," Bob said.
Bob and Carmen didn't know it would be a thirteen-year battle, fighting lobbyists and lawmakers to get a new law, first for a statewide electronic database in 2009. And then, on Tuesday at last, a mandatory requirement for all doctors to check that database before prescribing narcotics.
"There were many obstacles, many roadblocks, bureaucracy, red tape," Carmen said.
Bob said he was stunned to find that California was not among the 35 that states require drug prescribers or dispensers to check a prescription monitoring database.
Now, blessed with a beautiful daughter, Noel, 10, the Packs hope the new law will help save other lives.
"I want to take this day you know to remember Troy and Alana, because you know this is all because of them and for them," Carmen said.
The California Department of Justice administers the statewide database and the Pack family says they hope the new law from SB482 will be take effect in early 2017.