It is no secret that opioid abuse is becoming increasingly problematic throughout North Carolina and across the U.S. Many jurisdictions have implemented local and state-level interventions, but by far the most effective have been the prescription drug monitoring programs. The CDC applauds these programs, declaring them the most promising intervention methods to decrease opioid abuse and protect at-risk patients.
According to the CDC, PDMPs have outstanding potential. However, the organization spotlights four especially noteworthy features of PDMPs. For one, PDMPs are universal. This means providers can check the system for prescription information and be privy to data from all participating jurisdictions. Two, prescription information is available in real time, which can have significant implications on the safety of patients and the health of the general public.
Three, state health departments can actively manage PDMPs. This means departments can use them to better understand epidemic behavior and inform and assess intervention methods. State health departments can also send real-time reports to approved users to protect higher-risk patients.
Finally, PDMPs are easy to use and access. Though integration methods are continuously evolving, current favorable practices include the integration of PDMPs into electronic health record systems and the ability for physicians to grant PDMP access to other health care professionals in their offices.
The CDC also outlines what providers should do in the event that they come across a concerning patient. For starters, providers should confirm that the information in the PDMP is correct by checking for potential data entry errors, use of a maiden name or nickname and possible identity theft. Second, providers should assess the situation for the likelihood of abuse or misuse. Finally, if a provider feels as if the potential for abuse is there, he or she should discuss any and all concerns with the patient and emphasize his or her interest in the patient’s safety.