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Friday, April 24, 2015

Maine Program Alerts Doctors About Drug Related Crimes

In the state of Maine, a new program is underway that may save lives. Diversion Alert is a non-profit organization that allows medical professionals to access drug arrest records, giving physicians and extra level of discretion before they prescribe a drug that may result in a patient overdose, Bangor Daily News reports.

The program is in need of funding, which if unable to acquire could result in an end to the operation. The programs executive director has applied for several grants and has started raising money through a crowdfunding site, diversionalert.causevox.com/.

Prescription drug abuse is a major concern for a number of reasons, especially the risk of opioid overdoses. The implementation of prescription drug monitoring programs and abuse-deterrent opioids has proven to be an effective measure in the fight against the epidemic affecting people from all walks of life in all 50 states. Diversion Alert is available to doctors and pharmacists, providing them with a monthly list of people arrested or summoned for prescription or illegal drug-related crimes.

Not only does Diversion Alert help doctors identify patients at risk of overdosing, according to the program’s executive director, Clare Desrosiers, it provides a forum for doctors to talk to possible addicts about addiction treatment. Desrosiers points out that while prescription drug monitoring programs notify doctors about doctor shoppers, it does not alert prescribers when a patient has been charged with a crime related to prescription drugs.

Interestingly, Maine providers do not treat those arrested as pariahs. Desrosiers points out they continued to “provide well-informed and needed health care to all patients while also attending to alternative prescribing for those who have been involved in illegal substance activity.”

“I think this shows us that the program is effective,” said Desrosiers. “It would be a shame to see this lose funding.”

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