Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs: A viable option to curb prescription drug abuse

Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs: A viable option to curb prescription drug abuse

The rise in prescription drug abuse has become a major concern in the United States with more and more students, older adults, and women resorting to it. As per the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), nearly 2.1 million people suffered from substance use disorders related to prescription opioid pain relievers in 2012 in the U.S.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 78 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose. With one in every 12 adult grappling with addiction in the country, reports predict that the death toll due to this addiction is set to rise further. While the government is taking every possible step to combat the rising epidemic, studies show that the Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMP) are a useful tool in curbing the surge in prescription drug abuse.

Understanding PDMPs

PDMP is not a new concept and has been in existence since the 1970s. It was first implemented in Pennsylvania, where it was run by the attorney general’s office. However, it gained prevalence across the states in the U.S., in the past decade.

PDMP varies from state to state and is an electronic database that tracks the provision of drugs to the patient, thereby keeping an account of the people using the drugs and those abusing it. The system helps healthcare professionals as well as pharmacists to refer to the data while prescribing medicines.

According to various studies, sharing and selling of the prescription drugs among peers is the prime cause for the rise in prescription drug abuse in the country. Besides this, the prescription of a large number of medicines by a few doctors also led to the epidemic.

Significance of PDMPs

All PDMPs are designed to help healthcare professionals prescribing them to identify the drugs that are being misused. The system also helps them recognize drugs that can be potentially misused.

According to a 2013 survey by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), “4.6% of Americans over the age of 12 used prescription pain relievers for nonmedical use between 2010 and 2012. In total, more than 20 million Americans have taken pain relievers for nonmedical purposes since 2002. Nonmedical abuse is defined as the use of drugs without a prescription or use that occurred simply for the experience or feeling the drug causes.”

Besides, PDMPs also prove handy in tracking a patient’s medication history while prescribing new drugs. Through the system, the physicians can check if their patient recently had the same drug prescribed to them from different healthcare providers.

As per reports, electronic PDMPs have also been successful in detecting instances of abuse in a patient. PDMPs are of two kinds, one segment is known as “proactive,” which sends the tracking report, while another segment known as “reactive” does not send any report. The report sent by proactive PDMPs are used by the doctors, pharmacists and law officials to track prescription drug abuse.

Treatment of prescription overdose

PDMPs, physicians, and pharmacists can play an important role in helping the government curb prescription drug abuse. Regular use of PDMPs helps to identify signs of substance abuse, thereby ensuring an effective and safe pain management system for their patients. While PDMPs can help in tracking the abuse, a person suffering from addiction is required to undergo treatment.

If you or your loved one is hooked on opioids and is looking for help, you may get in touch with the Prescription Drug Abuse Helpline of California for information on various prescription drug rehabs in California. You may call at our 24/7 helpline number 855-738-2770 or chat online for expert advice on available prescription drug addiction treatment in California.