A new study has found that requiring doctors to check a prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) prior to prescribing opioids significantly cut incidences of “doctor shopping.” Researchers with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) analyzed annual nationwide surveys of drug use and health from 2004 until 2014, when 36 states implemented PDMPs. The study, reported in Addictive Behaviors, found that in states where physicians were required to check an electronic database before writing an opioid prescription, the odds that two or more doctors would be giving pain relievers for nonmedical purposes to a single patient were reduced by 80 percent. States that implemented voluntary monitoring programs showed a 56 percent reduction in the odds of doctor-shopping. Changes to Title 40 in Louisiana in 2014 state that prescribers in the state must check the PDMP prior to prescribing Schedule II drugs (like opioids) for chronic, non-cancer pain.
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