In an effort to identify instances of prescription drug abuse and reduce the cases of addiction, prescription drug monitoring programs are sharing prescription records with doctors and pharmacists in other states. A prescription drug monitoring program is a statewide electronic database which collects designated data on prescribed substances that are dispensed within the state.
These programs are designed to store and distribute prescriptions for federally controlled substances as well as support legitimate medical use of prescription drugs while limiting recreational use of medication. These programs work by requiring pharmacies that dispense certain drugs to register the filling of the prescriptions with the state-run database and data collector.
How the Programs Work
Most prescription drug monitoring programs require in-state pharmacies and those outside the state who are authorized to dispense here to submit weekly information about who specifically has received painkillers and other types of drugs that are considered controlled dangerous substances. Although pharmacies are required to use the database, medical professionals who prescribe the drugs are not obligated to submit information although they are encouraged to do so.
Physicians who get involved in these types of monitoring programs can help to save lives and decrease the level of prescription drug addiction which has increased at an alarming rate throughout the U.S. These programs are created to prevent people with existing addictions from obtaining more prescription drugs.
With this method of maintaining pharmacy data people are identified as receiving abnormal amounts of prescription medication or can be caught "doctor shopping" to obtain more drugs from different doctors out of state. Preventing those identified as potentially abusing prescription drugs can help to reduce instances of addiction as well as overdose and death.
Preventing Abuse- Benefits of PDMPs
Physicians who elect to use a prescription drug monitoring programs database will find that it helps them to detect when patients are not telling the truth about their medical and prescription drug history. It can make it easier for them to take note of tell-tale signs of addiction and abuse such as a patient having rapid increases in the amount of medication needed or frequent, unscheduled refill requests.
Doctors can also see when patients "shop" between providers, obtaining more prescription drugs from different sources. If doctors choose not to employ the database, pharmacies can assist in notifying physicians when they have identified a fraudulent prescription or a patient who is obtaining prescriptions from multiple sources. Prescription drug monitoring programs are authorized in most U.S. states and there are more than 30 states with operational programs used to reduce and prevent prescription abuse in the area.
Since prescription drug monitoring programs have been established in a number of U.S. states, they have proven their effectiveness in allowing the government to reduce instances of prescription drug abuse and diversion. With the ability to collect, monitor, and analyze data regarding prescription drugs pharmacists and physicians can work to prevent the type of abuse that can contribute to the growing number of people in the U.S. who are addicted to prescription medication.
Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officially declared that prescription drug use in the U.S. is an epidemic. In the past few years, overdose deaths involving prescription opioids have reached 17,000 deaths a year.
Prescription opioid abuse is also known to lead to other drug problems, especially heroin abuse which has increased by 75 percent in recent years. Prescription drug monitoring programs are the first step in assisting physicians in cutting down on the number of medications used for substance abuse rather than legitimate medical needs.
With these programs in place the drug addiction situation in the U.S. could eventually improve significantly.