A recent article in the New York Times has brought national attention to Missouri, but not necessarily for a good reason. Missouri is the only state in the United States that does not have a Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP). According to the National Alliance for Model State Drug Laws (NAMSDL), a PDMP is a statewide electronic database which collects designated data on substances dispensed in the state. The PDMP is housed by a specified statewide regulatory, administrative or law enforcement agency. The housing agency distributes data from the database to individuals who are authorized under state law to receive the information for purposes of their profession.
Prescription drug abuse is not something to take lightly. The Medicine Abuse Project shows that 1 in 4 teens report having misused or abused a prescription drug at least once in their lifetime. Studies have shown that when PDMPs are created and used the correct way, prescription drug abuse decreases. Opponents to a PDMP point to privacy concerns, while proponents argue that 49 other states have found a way to make it safe.
ACT Missouri recently hosted a webinar from Coach Jim Marshall on the importance of Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs. Coach Marshall uses his son’s story to teach on the importance of drug education in schools and prevention in communities. In his webinar, he talks about the importance of establishing a PDMP in Missouri, as well as what Missouri citizens can do. This webinar is archived, and available for viewing.
One of the points Coach Marshall stressed is the importance of participation in a PDMP being mandatory. Before Maine made their PDMP mandatory in early 2014, only 40% of prescribers participated. A recent article in the Bangor Daily News highlights Maine’s experience and shows the importance of PDMP’s. “The biggest impact of Maine’s and other [monitoring] programs has been to slow down and to prevent the most rapid escalation of overdose and death and abuse involving the opioids,” says John Eadie, director of the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program Center of Excellence at Brandeis University.