The American Medical Association (AMA) believes that modernized, interoperable Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs) have the potential to be a powerful clinical tool to help prevent prescription drug abuse, diversion, overdose and death. As states continue to consider how to best deploy PDMPs, the AMA has specific recommendations as part of our comprehensive efforts to help prevent prescription drug abuse and diversion.
Prescription drug monitoring programs offer tremendous potential – to either effectively curb abuse or to overburden prescribing doctors, making patients struggle to get the pain relief they legitimately need. The challenge lies in achieving the former without effecting the latter. To strengthen these programs, policymakers must design PDMPs with user-friendly, efficient methods for minimizing abuse.
Diversion of prescription drugs is a significant abuse problem, and state prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMP’s) have been created to be an efficient, cost effective tool for investigating and preventing drug diversion. A PDMP uses a centralized database in order to collect and review prescriptions on controlled substances. The intended effect is to share valuable information among providers and pharmacists as well as limit drug overdoses and curtail doctor shopping and prescriber overuse.
The Partnership at Drugfree.org knows that PDMPs are an important component in addressing the medicine abuse epidemic. We support the position of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy on the need for PDMPs in all 50 states and DC, with those programs interconnected to be able to share data, thereby providing a more effective means of combating drug diversion and drug abuse nationwide.
Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMP) are effective tools for collecting and analyzing prescription data, but across the country they remain underused. Clinicians do not routinely check PDMP data to identify patients who are abusing or diverting prescription drugs so they can make appropriate decisions for treating individual patients. According to a report prepared for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology in 2012, only 5 percent to 39 percent of providers use PDMP data, depending on the state.