States Link Databases to Fight Prescription Drug Abuse

Drug dealers and addicts often jump borders to beat the system. Several states are trying to keep that from happening.

P.J.M. Flickr cc
P.J.M. *extremely slow on flickr :( sorry*/Flickr CC
More people die from overdosing on prescription drugs than heroin and cocaine combined, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which calls the problem a national epidemic. Almost every state has or is currently setting up prescription monitoring programs (PMP) to identify patients with multiple drug orders as well as doctors prescribing unusually large amounts of prescription drugs. However, state officials quickly learned that dealers and addicts would find ways to beat the system, like travelling to other states to evade each state’s PMP radar, reports USA Today. To keep this from happening, seven states have linked their databases to keep better track of just how many pills people are getting and giving. Kentucky and Ohio were the first of the seven to coordinate their crackdown on prescription drugs in August, and an additional 20 states have agreed to link their databases this year.

Caroline Cournoyer is GOVERNING's senior web editor.