Curbing prescription drug abuse rates in the United States often requires innovative techniques. The implementation of prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) has had a huge impact on reducing doctor shopping – the act of going to multiple doctors for prescription opioids. While these efforts have reduced doctor shopping and have helped officials identify pain management clinics complicit in over prescribing practices – “pill mills,” there is still much more that can be done to address this insidious problem plaguing America.
At a recent health IT conference, experts argued that a greater use of electronic prescribing systems among healthcare providers could prove helpful in reducing prescription drug abuse, CIO reports. Unfortunately, the adoption of electronic prescribing of controlled substances (EPCS) systems has been slow.
“E-prescribing stops diversion. Paper prescriptions are stolen, they’re forged, they’re upticked. Changing a 3 to an 8 was something we saw time and time again,” Justin Berhaupt, a former aide to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, told CIO.
It’s been five years since the Drug Enforcement Administration authorized the use of EPCS systems. It would seem that that was more than enough time for the program to show some promise. While every state except Missouri has established a framework for e-prescribing, only 2 percent of healthcare providers nationwide have adopted EPCS systems, according to the article. Meanwhile, 78 percent of pharmacies nationwide have implemented e-prescribing systems.
“You name it, everyone needs to be a part of this solution,” says Tricia Wilkins, who serves as a pharmacy advisor for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT. “The issue of opioid over-prescribing and misuse is not just a law-enforcement issue. It’s absolutely a healthcare crisis.”
With millions of prescription opioids being prescribed every year, abuse rates are out of control – but there is help. If you are struggling with prescription opioid addiction, please do not hesitate to reach out for assistance. At Synergy Group Services we offer prescription drug addiction counseling, designed to help each individual learn how to live a life free from prescription drugs.