States Use E Prescribing data to curb abuse

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As of May, 2011, 35 states have operational prescription drug monitoring programs ( PDMPs) that have the capacity to receive and distribute controlled substance prescription information to authorized users.

A PDMP can be used to identify inidividuals who are doctor shopping to obtain controlled substances for illicit purposes, such as abusing the drugs personally or selling the prescription drugs.

In Florida the Electronic-Florida Online Reporting of Controlled Substances Evaluation program, known as E-FORCSE, allows physicians and pharmacists to access the prescription drug histories of patients before writing or filling their prescriptions for highly addictive drugs like OxyContin.

Patients who would abuse prescription drugs have become more sophisticated and have been crossing state lines to avoid being caught. In an attempt to enhance the functionality of the PDMP's states are engaging in data sharing programs. The state of Kentucky is aggressively moving forward with a couple of initiatives.

One program involves an interstate task force with Ohio, Tennessee and West Virginia that includes representatives from the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet, state police, Office of Drug Control Policy, attorney general's office and other organizations. The task force will make recommendations to the governors of each state and aims to share information through electronic prescription-drug monitoring programs.

The second initiative to curb interstate prescription drug trade between abusers is a data-sharing pilot project between Kentucky and Ohio. Under the program, the two states would be able to automatically exchange electronic prescription drug data to determine if patients are abusing the drugs.

As the states become more engaged in sharing data, and the use of electronic prescribing becomes more prevalent it will become much more difficult to obtain multiple prescriptions for narcotics for the purpose of abusing or selling these drugs. In addition it will also help to identify doctors who are over prescribing controlled substances.