Friday, March 2, 2012
There are an estimated seven million Americans abusing prescription drugs, and there were 1.2 million emergency department visits related to misuse or abuse of prescription drugs in 2009 alone. There is no longer any question as to whether or not prescription drug abuse is an epidemic that costs people their lives and costs this nation billions of dollars every year.
Every state is dealing with this problem in its own way, but, there are some standard practices being used to cut down on the problem. Prescription drug databases, known as prescription monitoring programs (PMPs), is one way states have been fighting prescription drug abuse. These programs have proven to be quite effective as long as the right people have access to them. There are number of people who will cross state lines in order to doctor shop in a state where they have no record in the states PMP, then they will travel back to their home state with their drugs to sell or abuse.
All 50 states need to work together by sharing access to their databases to target doctor shopping and pill mills. The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy® (NABP®) PMP InterConnectSM enhances the ability of prescription monitoring programs (PMPs) to prevent the diversion of controlled substance drugs by facilitating the transfer of PMP data across state lines to authorized PMP users in participating states. If every state worked together using the same PMP it would make it much harder for people to get their hands on prescription narcotics.
The implementation of state PMPs, will better identify doctor shoppers and pill mills and surely help curb this terrible epidemic.