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New study finds robust drug monitoring programs reduce over prescription


Strong drug monitoring programs reduce the number of opioids that get prescribed, this according to a new study from the University of Michigan.

The study looked at drug monitoring programs across the country between 2010 and 2014.

Rebecca Haffajee is the study author. She said more stringent monitoring programs lead to doctors prescribing fewer opioids.

“The strongest features that these states had were requirements that prescribers had to check the database, they also updated the data quite frequently, almost weekly, to the system.”

Haffajee said the use of a prescriber database reduced the number of opioid pills prescribed to patients and also reduced the number of opioid prescriptions overall.

“In Kentucky for example about 10 percent of people were filling opioid prescriptions per quarter and that dropped relative to its comparative state by over one percent. That’s quite significant a drop, from ten to about 8 percent of the population.”

Michigan was not included in the data because it didn’t have a drug monitoring program until 2017.

Haffajee said more data is needed to determine if people who aren’t getting prescriptions turn to illicit drugs.