On Monday, Taney County Commissioners took a tremendous step in combating the growing opioid epidemic and unanimously voted to implement a Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP). A PDMP is designed to serve an essential function in combating prescription drug abuse through the collection of data from pharmacies on controlled substance prescriptions that have been dispensed. This information is then made available to authorized users through a secure electronically accessible database. The information will help prescribers and pharmacists identify patients at high-risk who could benefit from early interventions.
“A PDMP helps providers including Physician Assistants (PA’s), Nurse Practitioners (NP’s), and dentists, as well as pharmacists, make informed decisions about prescribing or dispensing controlled substances to patients who may be at risk of developing addiction. It is a proactive approach to preventing addiction and improves patient safety. If someone has an allergy to penicillin, we’ll want that information before providing an antibiotic. The PDMP provides us with information to keep our patients safe,” stated Heather Burney a local pharmacist.
Heather Burney shared with commissioners that in 2012 health care providers wrote 259 million prescriptions for opioid medications. “That’s enough for every American adult to have a bottle of pills,” Burney stated. “In addition to that, 80 percent of people who inject heroin start by abusing prescription drugs.”
One of the many pieces to decreasing the abuse of opioids is to implement a PDMP. An executive order signed by Governor Eric Greitens in July of this year has a different focus, target audience and process and will not impact the operations of a local PDMP. The executive order is prescriber focused and has the potential for enforcement.
The goals of a local PDMP are:
- Improve controlled substance prescribing by providing critical information regarding a patient’s controlled substance prescription history
- Inform clinical practice by identifying patients at high-risk who would benefit from early interventions, and
- Reduce the number of people who misuse, abuse or overdose while making sure patients have access to safe, effective treatment
County Commissioner Sheila Wyatt did state that, “I have seen too many wonderful lives ruined due to drug abuse and listened to many testimonials given as to how easily they became addicted. If I am given a chance to help fight this growing epidemic, in any way, I must.”
The Taney County Health Department envisions a community of healthy people. Every day, we work to achieve this vision through leadership, collaboration, education and service. We value integrity, learning, teamwork, positive communication, quality improvement and dedicated service. Please visit our website https://www.taneycohealth.org to learn more about our services.