National Prescription Drug Monitoring Database Could Prevent Abuse

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Advanced medicine makes it possible for terminal patients to control pain and severely depressed individuals to find relief from an overpowering disease. When used outside of controlled care, however, narcotics and sedatives can quickly turn into a source of abuse and even death.

A Forbes report recounts the observations of an ER physician who has encountered a number of individuals who come to a hospital seeking prescriptions. While some patients do have a valid reason to pursue a prescription for a controlled substance, others are simply seeking permission to secure their next fix.

Drug seeking individuals will try a number of different methods to secure the drug of choice. When these individuals are turned down at clinics or individual physician offices, they often turn up in the ER as a last legitimate option.

Today, physicians rely on certain queues and non-verbal body language to identify those individuals who are seeking to secure a fix. They may have been notified by a clinic or physician’s office that they had to turn the individual away, yet time in a busy medical office rarely allows for such notification, especially when a standard system is lacking.

In the state of California, however, a voluntary prescription drug monitoring program has been put in place. This PDMP allows providers to easily access information in real-time regarding recent prescriptions received by a patient. Prescribers and pharmacists can both use the system to help reduce prescription drug abuse by monitoring drugs received by specific individuals.

Taking such a program nationwide could be a substantial move toward reducing “doctor shopping” and prescription drug abuse. While individual state platforms can make a dent, providing the same tools to prevent securing the drugs across state lines would be a powerful tool toward preventing abuse and a reduction in falsified prescriptions.

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