Prescription drugs are the new gateway drug. These drugs are destroying the country one community at a time. More and more young people are falling victim to prescription drug abuse and addiction. It is even pushing young adults towards heroin abuse. Local, state and federal initiatives are being implemented to fight this growing issue, but the problem persists. One initiative is the prescription drug monitoring program. This program works by electronically monitoring the dispensing of prescription medications to patients. Unfortunately, the program is failing opioid addicts.

Drug Monitoring Programs

Prescription drug monitoring programs work to reduce the prescription drug abuse and addiction by attempting to limit the amount of prescription drugs available. The program uses electronic databases to monitor the prescribing and dispensing of prescription drugs. This initiative was created to limit the amount of prescription drugs in the hands of those abusing the drugs or selling it to others for recreational use. It can monitor the provide physicians and pharmacists with the prescription drug use and abuse history of patients and customers. The program also hopes to provide more information to those who can provide help to those in need and detect abuse issues early.

DMP’s Failing Opioid Addicts

In theory, this program limits the amount of prescription drugs on the streets and it provides a safety net for those handing out prescriptions. It would provide at-risk individuals with the ability to get the help they need early and expose them to help often. Sadly, this program is failing opioid addicts. The only way the program works is if it is being used by physicians. Research says the ⅔’s of people getting treatment for opioid addiction get opioids during and after that treatment. In addition, 40% are abusing prescription drugs while receiving medically assisted drug treatment. What does this mean for the Drug Monitoring Program? That professionals are not using the system. They are handing out prescription drugs to the people that the program was made to keep from getting them. The drug problem in the nation is getting out of control. For the first time in decades, motor vehicle-related fatalities have been toppled by another cause of death; that is drug related deaths. The growing number of treatment patients who are also abusing drugs could be a result of a number of issues. The most probable are that doctors are not using it; patients are doctor shopping or receiving drugs by mistake.

Program is Inefficient

This program is new and not without its flaws. Many doctors who are or have attempted to use the system have complained about the difficulty and time it takes to properly utilize it. Many say that the program is difficult to use and is not compatible with their own software. Some have complained that they must do an extensive amount of searching and ‘clicking’ to reach their desired patient/destination. This is especially difficult with patients that have more common names like a ‘Brian Jones.’ It is clear that this new program has its problems and turning doctors off to using it. As busy as doctors can be no one is blaming them, but something must be done. Addicts and those in recovery must be kept safe from themselves. Like alcoholics, it only takes a taste of their desired drug to push them back into a dangerous downward cycle of abuse and addiction. Speak to your physician about their participation in this system if you or someone you know has a history of prescription drug abuse. This can help to prevent doctor shopping and accidental prescriptions to dangerous drugs.