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Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs Linked to Reductions in Opioid Overdose Deaths

Science Spotlight

June 22, 2016

Rx and prescription tabletPhoto by ©iStock.com/18percentgrey

New research funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) found that state implementation of prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) was associated with a reduction in opioid-related overdose deaths. The study, published in Health Affairs, also found that PDMPs that monitored greater numbers of drugs with abuse potential and updated their data more frequently had greater declines in opioid-related overdose deaths than programs without those characteristics.

Study authors found that implementation of a PDMP was linked to a decrease of 1.12 opioid-related overdose deaths per 100,000 population. A state with a program that monitored four or more drug schedules and updated their information at least weekly was predicted to have 1.55 fewer opioid-related overdose deaths per 100,000 population annually than a state without a program.

PDMPs are statewide electronic databases that track the prescribing and dispensing of controlled substances, including patients who might be seeking prescriptions from multiple doctors ("doctor shopping"). PDMPs are designed to help authorities monitor for suspected abuse or diversion of prescription medications, including opioid analgesics, and can help health care professionals identify patients who may be at risk for drug misuse or addiction and could benefit from early intervention.

The study authors concluded that additional support is needed to bolster PDMPs and to increase the number of drug schedules monitored by the program and the frequency of data updating to continue to reduce the staggering numbers of overdose deaths in the U.S. in recent years from opioid misuse.

For a copy of the abstract, "Implementation of Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs Associated with Reductions in Opioid-Related Death Rates," go to https://www.healthaffairs.org/doi/10.1377/hlthaff.2015.1496.

For more information about prescription opioids, go to: https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/opioids.

For more information, contact the NIDA press office at media@nida.nih.gov or 301-443-6245. Follow NIDA on Twitter and Facebook.

NIDA Press Office

About the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA): The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is a component of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIDA supports most of the world’s research on the health aspects of drug use and addiction. The Institute carries out a large variety of programs to inform policy, improve practice, and advance addiction science. Fact sheets on the health effects of drugs and information on NIDA research and other activities can be found at www.drugabuse.gov, which is now compatible with your smartphone, iPad or tablet. To order publications in English or Spanish, call NIDA’s DrugPubs research dissemination center at 1-877-NIDA-NIH or 240-645-0228 (TDD) or email requests to drugpubs@nida.nih.gov. Online ordering is available at drugpubs.drugabuse.gov. NIDA’s media guide can be found at www.drugabuse.gov/publications/media-guide/dear-journalist, and its easy-to-read website can be found at www.easyread.drugabuse.gov. You can follow NIDA on Twitter and Facebook.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation’s medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.

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    NIDA. (2016, June 22). Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs Linked to Reductions in Opioid Overdose Deaths. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/news-events/news-releases/2016/06/prescription-drug-monitoring-programs-linked-to-reductions-in-opioid-overdose-deaths

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