The United States is in the throes of a heated battle against opioid misuse, and doctors are often on the frontlines of that fight. Poor physician prescribing practices have come under fire and identified as one of the major contributing factors to the current opioid epidemic.
Without proper care, doctors may prescribe opioids either unnecessarily or in dosages that are too high or for too long a time period. In other cases, doctors could prescribe opioids without knowing that the same patient has gone to multiple other doctors looking for the same medications, a practice known as doctor shopping.
To reduce opioid misuse, there are programs designed to prevent these types of scenarios from playing out in clinical settings around the country.
Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs, or PDMPs, are defined by the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program Training and Technical Assistance Center as “highly effective tools utilized by government officials for reducing prescription drug abuse and diversion. PDMPs collect, monitor and analyze electronically transmitted prescribing and dispensing data submitted by pharmacies and dispensing practitioners. The data are used to support states’ efforts in education, research, enforcement and abuse prevention.”
PDMPs help fight substance misuse by monitoring whether patients are getting prescriptions from multiple providers, watching the prescribing habits of individual providers and other tactics to improve opioid prescribing at the state level.
A PDMP can help providers see a patient’s prescription history. This is critical in determining if a patient is doctor shopping for prescription opioids, whether necessary or not. Certain states have even begun requiring that providers use a PDMP before prescribing a controlled substance. The goal of these regulations is to use a PDMP to its full potential to prevent future substance misuse.
PDMPs can also be updated in real time to provide the most up-to-date information to providers and pharmacies alike, which can ensure the highest level of safety is achieved. This can help doctors and pharmacists make the right choices for the individual patient, from the office visit to the picking up of the medication at a pharmacy.
What truly makes a PDMP an asset is that it can be used as a public health tool for state health departments. Health officials can track the numbers monthly, weekly and even daily to identify concerning trends with the opioid epidemic locally and plan ways to combat these patterns before more people are affected. PDMPs can help Ohio identify and intervene against specific issues at the state level.
Using a PDMP is just one of many ways the state of Ohio can help fight the disease of substance misuse. If you or someone you know experiences a substance use disorder, you can get help and you can have the answers you need to make a change. Contact The Recovery Village Columbus to learn more about the opioid epidemic in Ohio and the Ohio addiction treatment resources that are available to you.