In response to increasing abuse of prescription drugs, fortyfour states have implemented-and five more states will soon adopt-monitoring programs to track prescriptions of controlled medications. Although these programs were originally designed to help law enforcement officials and regulatory agencies spot possible illegal activity, health care providers have begun to use data from them to help improve patient safety and quality of care. For this article we reviewed government documents, expert white papers, articles from the peer-reviewed medical literature, and reports of the experiences of local health officials. We found some evidence that prescription drug monitoring programs are a benefit to both law enforcement and health care delivery. However, the programs have strengths and weaknesses, and their overall impact on drug abuse and illegal activity remains unclear. We believe that improving the efficacy of prescription drug monitoring programs will require such changes as more standardization and interstate cooperation, better training of providers, more secure funding, and further evaluation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Policy