Report: Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs Need to be More Proactive

State prescription drug monitoring programs need to shift from a reactive approach to a proactive one, according to a new report by the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program Center of Excellence at Brandeis University.

Brandeis experts assessed state prescription drug monitoring programs, and concluded all states should follow best practices to improve their effectiveness, reports.

“Being proactive is the key to success in the fight against prescription painkiller abuse,” researcher John L. Eadie said in a news release. “While doctors may routinely collect and report data to a state program that signals where and when prescription painkillers are likely being misused, the program might not share that information with others who can best use it.”

Co-researcher Peter Kreiner added that state programs should analyze the data they collect, and reach out to doctors, pharmacists, law enforcement officials, insurers and others who can prevent prescription drugs from falling into the wrong hands. “Where this is already taking place, it has proven to be very effective,” he notes.

The report outlines some best practices that all states should follow. According to the report, states that collect prescribing data for all controlled substances, including anti-anxiety medication, report lower rates of “doctor shopping” than other states. In the three states that use state-issued prescription forms with uniquely configured page numbers, the rates of deadly painkiller overdoses rose more slowly. These forms are designed to reduce fraud.

The report recommends proactively sending alerts about possible abuse to doctors and pharmacists; this practice has been associated with decreased sales of prescriptions, and low rates of doctor shopping. Other recommendations include having law enforcement agencies analyze trend data, to identify “pill mills,” and increasing doctors’ participation in and use of prescription drug monitoring programs.

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    Joe Miller

    September 24, 2012 at 5:40 PM

    Good grief, more “big brother”? Something tells me that isn’t the answer.

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    Hiawatha Bouldin

    September 22, 2012 at 6:12 PM

    Before anyone says that the phramacies are not secure and may be a theft risk, think about how infrequently pharmacies are robbed. They already have security and sfeguards in place. We merely need to build collaborative partners that would be willing to collect and dispose the drugs returned. Our increase in locations would merely increase the amount of drugs we get back.

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    Hiawatha Bouldin

    September 22, 2012 at 6:02 PM

    Let’s talk about being “proactive”. that might mean speaking directly to the individual being impacted by the issue of drug misuse. We have spoken to the doctors about monitoring, we have asked them to counsel their patients,we’ve even tried to do take back programs using the law enforcement agencies. From just speaking to community members (people who getthe medications) I have learned that they’d take them back to the pharmacies they received the drugs from, if they could. The law eneforcement sites are no safer, as a matter of fact they are more intimidating! They are not convenient and the pharmacies already equipped to dispense, monitor and even receive drugs. I know this isn’t the first time this suggestion has been voiced. It’s time to make a real effort on preventing something that killing us.

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    September 21, 2012 at 12:41 PM

    There is so much fail in this article it pains me.
    does patient confidentiality mean nothing anymore? should we just have a police officer present in every exam room and pharmacy conultation? seems like it would save some time, and be a lot more honest. if you are going to take medical information from patients and report it to the police, then ther should be a form to sign “any information you share with the doctor will be conveyed to the police”. that ought to get people to loosen up and be honest with their doctors. i have a better idea though, how about doctors keep all patient information confidential. how about police do real investigations and find people who are abusing drugs, then get a warrant to search medical records. there is no room for the police in a doctor patient relationship, at least there shouldn’t be in a country where people pretend to be free.

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