Prescription Drug Abuse and Monitoring Programs
Prescription drug abuse is at an all-time high. The Center for Disease Control considers it an epidemic in the United States (Finklea 2). According to the Congressional Research Service, nearly all the prescription drug related overdoses are originally prescribed by a physician and nearly three out of four of those are caused by prescription painkillers (such as oxycodone) (Finklea 2). In the United States, the CDC reports that on average 100 people die every day from prescription drug overdoses. Florida is considered the number one state for prescription drug abuse. Many have blamed the rapidly increasing number of pain management clinics or pill mills as contributing to this eruption. In 2009, nearly seven people died every day from overdoses prescription drug overdoses. It has not been until the implementation of a prescription drug monitoring program that those numbers have drastically diminished.
A prescription drug monitoring program is a computer database where all the controlled substances (or substances with the highest abuse potential) would be logged into the database once someone fills that kind of prescription. This information would then be able to be looked at by pharmacies, doctors, and law enforcement. It will be beneficial to pharmacies and doctors because they can simply look up a patient to see if they have been “doctor shopping” ( or using multiple doctors at the same time to get controlled substance) and are using the medications for the wrong reasons. As of now, only a handful of states have prescription drug monitoring programs, which is why there is a need for a national law to be established for every state to have them and for the databases to be interconnected.
The first question one may ask is, “How much is this going to cost?” According to the Maryland Advisory Council, startup costs ranging from $450,000 to over $1.5 million dollars and an annual operating costs range from $125,000 to $1million dollars. The next question one may ask is, “How are the states going to pay for the operation and general up keep of the program?” Well there are two federally funded grants for these databases, the Harold Rogers Prescription Drug Monitoring Program and the National All Schedules Prescription Electronic Reporting Act (NAPSER) (Finklea 12). NAPSER, “requires the Department of Health and Human Services to award grants to States to establish or improve programs to electronically monitor dispensing of controlled substances” (Agency Group, 09). This law gives funding to the states to start up their very own prescription drug monitoring program so that health care providers can identify patients that are at risk of the abuse of controlled substances. The Harold Rodgers Prescription Drug Monitoring Program provides money for the databases after they have already been set up. This law is funded by the department of justice, and it focuses more on the law enforcement aspect of the...