Why Not New Jersey? The Argument for a Mandatory PMP

The groundbreaking 21 piece legislation package that is currently making its way through the state house is poised to help curb prescription drug and heroin abuse in a way that few other movements have. The Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey has provided expert testimony for this legislation, particularly bills S-2366 and S-1998. As we have previously reported, S-2366 has passed the New Jersey State Senate by a landslide and is on its way to the Assembly. It's time now that we focused our attention on S-1998.
 
S-1998 (full text here) would make it mandatory for New Jersey doctors to sign up for and actively use New Jersey's Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PMP). For those who are unfamiliar, the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program is a database maintained by the state of New Jersey that allows doctors to see if their patients have a history of being prescribed opiate based narcotics. Use of the PMP helps doctors easily identify if a patient they are seeing is displaying possible addictive behavior or participating in "doctor shopping", which is when people go to several doctors in a short span of time to obtain prescription drugs to either abuse or sell. The PMP helps protect not only our communities, but doctors as well.
 
A mandatory PMP is part of the prevention and treatment strategies of many states across the country. Below are some examples of states that passed similar legislation and the subsequent effects:
 
⦁ A study of medical providers in Ohio emergency departments found that 41% of those given PMP data altered their prescribing for patients receiving multiple simultaneous narcotics prescriptions. Of these providers, 61% prescribed no narcotics or fewer narcotics than originally planned, while 39% prescribed more.  Another study found that consulting the PMP increased physicians’ confidence that the controlled substances they prescribed were medically warranted.  
 
⦁ Over 90% of Indiana physicians reported prescribing fewer controlled substances, and over 50% of these respondents cited viewing PMP data as the main reason for this change.
 
⦁ A study of New York State’s PMP found that in the year following the inception of the program, prescribing of certain opiates to individuals suspected of drug diversion  fell by 95%.
 
⦁ In New York and Tennessee, doctor shopping rates declined 74% and 36%, respectively, after legislative mandates for prescribers to check the PMP before first prescribing certain controlled substances and at regular intervals thereafter.
 
⦁ A study of diversion rates for prescription opioids in Florida found significant declines for several drugs, including oxycodone, methadone and morphine, after the implementation of pill mill laws and the state’s prescription monitoring program.
 
⦁ A national evaluation comparing states with and without PMPs and focusing primarily on Schedule II controlled substances such as oxycodone found that proactive PMPs were associated with lower rates of treatment admissions for abuse of these drugs.
 
It is clear that mandatory PMPs are effective in other states. Why not New Jersey?

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