Exactly How is the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program Being Used?

Edited by Paul Alexander

Last updated October 17, 2014

The Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) first came to existence in 2011, and since then, over 37 states have enacted the use of this program as a means of controlling prescription drug abuse.

According to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), PDMP’s have many benefits, including the following:

  • Supporting access to legitimate medical use of controlled substances
  • Identifying and deterring (or preventing) drug abuse and diversion
  • Facilitating and encouraging the identification, intervention with and treatment of persons addicted to prescription drugs
  • Informing public health initiatives through outlining of use and abuse trends
  • Educating individuals about PDMP’s and the use, abuse and diversion of an addiction to prescription drugs

With this many benefits, one would think that every state and every prescribing professional would be ready and willing to implement the use of this program into their practice. However, that has not been the case, as many professionals have yet to utilize it and some are not utilizing it consistently.

To get a better grip on just exactly how the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program is being used, researchers at Oregon Health and Sciences University conducted a study to better understand the differences between those who utilize the program and those who do not.

The study surveyed 22,000 clinicians nationwide – 650 frequent users of the PDMP, 650 non-frequent users of the PDMP, and 2,000 non-users of the PDMP. The results showed the following:

  • Those who utilized the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program the most were also the same individuals who prescribed the most medications to patients
  • Professionals in the fields of emergency medicine, primary care and addiction treatment made up the majority of clinicians who utilized the PDMP
  • 95% of physicians use the PDMP when they believe their patient(s) may be abusing prescription pills
  • 36% of clinicians reported that they discontinue care to patients who abuse the PDMP
  • 54% of clinicians made referrals to patients for outside substance abuse and/or mental healthcare

This study was able to conclude that when the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program is utilized correctly and consistently, that both clinicians and patients are more successful in providing care/being cared for. In addition, more necessary therapeutic treatment is recommended as opposed to the use of pills. However, in order for the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program to be effective enough to truly curb the prescription drug abuse epidemic, every clinician who has the ability to prescribe controlled substances must be utilizing this program with every patient.

Related Articles:



Article Reviewed by Paul Alexander

Paul AlexanderPaul Alexander is the founder and CEO of Northbound Treatment. He received his Certified Addiction Treatment Specialist training at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, CA, and was awarded Outstanding Alumni Service Award in 2002. Paul holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminology, Law and Society, Summa Cum Laude, from University of California, Irvine, and a Juris Doctorate degree from Loyola Law School of Los Angeles. He believes wholeheartedly in transformational leadership, organizational health and effective, fully integrated substance use disorder treatment.