In recent years, opioid dependency has become an epidemic in the United States. According to one study, about 78 people die each day in the US of opioids overdoses. Pharmacies are integrating their systems with prescription drug monitoring programs as a way to proactively prevent medication abuse and possible overdose deaths. One of the continuing ways that some opioid abusers obtain more medication than a doctor would usually prescribe is by doctor shopping and letting two doctors write prescriptions for the same health issue. Another way drug users get access to their opioid of choice may be to cross state lines to purchase drugs.
Prescription Drug Monitoring Program
According to the US Department of Justice, programs have been developed to assist in monitoring drug purchases and use in the United States. The National Alliance for Model State Drug Laws, a prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) uses a statewide database to collect information about the drugs that are being prescribed in the state. The DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) does not oversee PSMPs in any state. Each state regulates its prescription monitoring program.
What are the benefits of PDMPs?
Monitoring opioid prescriptions slow down the instances of drug abusers who doctor shop for pain prescriptions. It also helps a doctor to spot the signs of addiction in a patient who may be unwilling to admit they have a problem. In cases like these, it may benefit that the doctor is aware without necessarily having to be told so they can work to make progress with the patient without forcing them to confess their addiction.
Other benefits of having prescription monitoring in the state include:
- Monitoring access to legitimate use of prescriptions and controlled medications.
- Preventing and identifying improper drug use or diversion.
- Identifying and treating those who misuse prescription medications.
- Identifying drug use and abuse trends.
- Educating people about inappropriate use or abuse of prescription medications.
Who Controls the PDMPs in each participating state?
Each state decides which of their agencies should oversee a PDMP department. Federal funding is available to states who wish to start a prescription drug monitoring program. The Herold Rogers Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, which is a part of the US Department of Justice, offers grants for those who wish to plan, implement or enhance a prescription monitoring drug program in their state.
Naloxone Prescriptions Available from the Pharmacy
Many have found Naloxone to be an alternative to opioids. Many states allow the anti-opioid drug naloxone to be dispensed from their pharmacies. Naloxone remains a safe, not-addictive medication that prevents respiratory failure due to an overdose of opioids. In these states, naloxone prescriptions are obtained with an order from the pharmacist. If you or someone you know is addicted to opioids but needs their medication, perhaps this is something to consider.
Overall, having this knowledge could be beneficial to you in any situation where you or someone you know might be exposed to opioids and eventually develop a dependence on the medication. In any case, knowing that states are trying to stop opioid abuse with PDMS could help the afflicted to see that it is a common problem and they don’t need to be ashamed to reach out for help, either from their doctors or their family. Even if you’re not personally involved in an instance of opioid addiction, it’s helpful to know that there have been methods put in place to try and stop this epidemic from spreading. For more information on health, medication, and healthy habits check out our other articles!