Did you know that 91 people die every day from an opioid overdose?
Missouri is currently the only state in the United States without a prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP). However, health leaders in southwest Missouri believe that without a PDMP in place, the cost to the community is steep. That’s why Clay Goddard, assistant director at the Springfield-Greene County Health Department, proposed the creation of a local tracking program at a City Council committee meeting a couple weeks ago. If this proposition is approved by the full council in July, the program could take effect in Greene County as early as October.
“There were more Americans killed last year to opioid overdoses than in car wrecks, so that gives you a sense of how significant the epidemic is,” Goddard said.
A prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) is a secure database that collects, monitors, and analyzes the prescribing and dispensing of medication. Practitioners and pharmacists electronically record when medications are prescribed or dispensed. This data is used by the state to support efforts to track and eliminate opioid abuse. Depending on the state, different agencies, such as the Department of Health and the Boards of Pharmacy, manage and administer the monitoring program. The program is a common and effective tactic to prevent and curb “doctor-shopping”, where individuals abusing opioids go from doctor to doctor to receive multiple prescriptions for medications. The tactic is so common that 49 states and two territories are currently using a prescription drug monitoring program.
Springfield plans to join a statewide effort toward the establishment of a PDMP in Missouri. This effort aims to receive a federal grant to financially support the creation of the program and operating costs for two years. Springfield City Council has already approved their partnership in the grant application process because a PDMP is needed in Greene County.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, overdose deaths in the United States have quadrupled since 1999. Greene County’s numbers match the national trend, increasing from 8.6 deaths per 100,000 in 2000 to 31.6 deaths per 100,000 in 2015. City councilman, Dr. Tom Prater, believes the PDMP could save a life stating, “There aren’t too many things that council can do to save a life, but this is one of them.” City council representatives aren’t the only ones supporting a PDMP. A variety of representatives from organizations in the Ozarks have noticed the growing epidemic. Dr. Howard Jarvis from CoxHealth stated the opioid crisis has completely changed the practice of medicine for their system. In just over a year at CoxHealth systems, there was a 120 percent increase in the use of overdose-reversing drugs.
“There aren’t too many things that council can do to save a life, but this is one of them.” – Dr. Tom Prater
Previous studies have reported a wide variety of successes. The CDC reported that overdoses reduced by anywhere from 36 to 75%, depending on the state. Reuters suggests PDMPs could prevent up to 10 opioid overdose-related deaths per day.
Although successes vary state to state, program to program, there is one thing that remains common: there have been successes with the implementation of the prescription drug monitoring program!