Pushing the Boundaries:
Regionalized PDMPs Helping To Slow the Opioid Epidemic
ENGLEWOOD, N.J.—The expansion of prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) across state lines is an important tool in preventing individuals from “doctor shopping” for multiple opioid prescriptions, and could have a huge effect on the battle against opioid misuse, abuse and diversion, according to pain medicine experts and state officials.
“Right now, we are in the midst of a public health crisis, a prescription drug problem. One of the biggest issues we have is that pain is so difficult to treat, and we have so few options, that there are patients who require controlled substances to manage their pain,” said Jeffrey A. Gudin, MD, director of the Pain Management Center at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center. This is compounded by the fact that U.S. opioid-related overdose deaths reached all-time highs in 2014, many of them a result of painkiller diversion into the hands of those who abused and misused them.
When it comes to physician participation in the PDMP, New Jersey has been a model for other states. According to Mr. Christie, increasing physician involvement in the database has been a goal for several years, starting when the participation percentage languished in the teens. Now with 96% physician participation, and almost 59 million prescription drug records contained in its PDMP, state officials believe they are making a real difference against the ongoing opioid epidemic.
“It is an innovative partnership between New Jersey’s attorney general’s office and state prescribers, and one of our best tools in the fight against diversion of prescription drugs,” said Mr. Christie. “And now, prescribers in New Jersey are successfully making use of our ability to view cross-border prescriptions.”
Mr. Christie noted that in the first nine months of 2015, 123,000 prescriber data requests were shared between New Jersey, Connecticut and Delaware alone. In the fourth quarter of 2015, after Minnesota, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Virginia joined the Interstate Hub, 63,000 requests were made. In the eight days after New York joined, the group had already seen 16,000 individual pieces of information shared. Mr. Christie called the new collaboration with New York “the single most important expansion we’ve had so far.
“This is the kind of thing that is going to save lives,” he said. “And it will make the job of our health care providers much easier.”
– Donald M. Pizzi, Pain Medicine News
May 4, 2016