Drug Abuse and Enforcement: Impact of Regulatory Controls on Prescription Drug Abuse

Faculty: Tod Mijanovich
Team: Eunice Blehmadoo, Thomas Boman, Jeremy Cherson, Jennifer Reres
Year: 2013

In recent decades, prescription drug abuse has risen dramatically in the United States due to changes in medical attitudes and practices. This shift has resulted not only in a wider distribution of opioids for the treatment of chronic and non-chronic pain, but also to increases in non-medical opioid abuse, dependence, and accidental death. States have responded to this growing crisis with a variety of enforcement and monitoring policies, including Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs). PDMPs are statewide patient prescription history databases made accessible to physicians, pharmacies, law enforcement agencies, and other stakeholders in an effort to enhance surveillance of individual medication consumption patterns. If effective, PDMPs can be a tool to prevent “doctor shopping” and diversion, consequently leading to lower rates of addiction and accidental overdose. This study analyzes the extent to which PDMPs and their specific characteristics reduce these outcomes in individual states.