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Do Prescription Drug Databases Actually Work?

Mar 16, 2018 | Drug Addiction, QA

People that abuse prescription drugs have spiked to an all-time high. The solution to many ailments comes with a prescription from the doctor. Either patients will go to see their doctor with a medical condition and will not necessarily disclose any of their pertinent information in hopes of snagging a pill, or doctors might prescribe a medication unknowingly to get a patient instantly hooked on its effects. The uprising of opioids and other prescription medication addictions has become a national epidemic that in theory could be stopped by a prescription drug database, but do they even work?

Prescription drug databases, also known as Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs), are described as “highly effective tools utilized by government officials for reducing prescription drug abuse and diversion”. The database is intended to collect, monitor, and analyze prescription drug traffic as it is prescribed from doctor to patient. The data is electronically transferred through the prescribing doctors to the pharmacy who dispenses it, creating an electronic “paper trail” to help keep people that are abusing prescription drugs from doctor shopping to get what they need to keep their pain management at bay or keep their addiction going without being detected.

Forty-nine states currently have PDMPs that are in effect. Missouri is the only state that does not have a PDMP. The Missouri state legislature has failed to pass a bill to put a database into place in their last six sessions. The state-level intervention has become increasing more useful in how doctors prescribe medications and recognizing multiple providers for patients more efficiently. The functionality of the system is one of the key elements in keeping the implementation of data consistent. Programmers are continuously trying to improve the database to make a difference in prescription drug abuse.


  • Proactive Reports


These reports use the database to pull up information to show prescription trends and help better comprehend the drug addiction epidemic while enabling interventions where necessary.


  • Real-time Information


Currently it may take some prescription entries up to a month to process in the system. Actualizing the data immediately will give doctor’s real-time access to records instead of being the one time that someone overdoses because they slipped through the system.


  • User Friendly


Making the system easier to understand, as well as how to use the information to their advantage, is crucial. Having trainings and making the material more universal to colleagues or other healthcare providers, can be the very thing to make the database more productive in the medical field.

The database only represents 18 percent of prescription drug users because 50 percent of users obtain medication from friends and relatives, and the other 32 percent have either purchased or stolen the prescription drugs illegally.

Serenity Oaks Wellness Center can help you or someone you know that has a problem with drugs and alcohol, by showing them a new design for living. Our extensive 5-week program can be the very thing to bring about changes in your new life of recovery.

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