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PA’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program

Do you know that the Pennsylvania Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) collects information on all filled prescriptions for controlled substances and uses that data for drug abuse prevention and treatment?

During our February 2019 Lunch & Learn, Meghna H. Patel, MHA, director of the program, gave a detailed overview of the types of data collected and how information can be used to track trends and improve treatments.

Information from the program is available to doctors and pharmacists, who check the database before prescribing or dispensing medications. By so doing, they can see if a patient has had opioids or other drugs prescribed by other providers. But data is used in a variety of other ways, as well. The PDMP’s website includes an interactive data report that provides analytics on a variety of data points, including overdoses by county, age & gender; as well as the types and quantities of controlled substances that are dispensed.

These figures arm government officials with valuable data for determining where treatment and prevention programs need to be implemented and the effectiveness of those programs. Patel said emergency rooms throughout the state provide timely information on overdoses. Because information is received rapidly, PDMP can respond quickly when an upsurge is reported. And, department officials can combine data on overdose deaths from several sources to keep track of what types of drugs were involved, whether a mental health history was reported and other details.

“These factors allow us to determine what exactly needs to be prevented and fixed,” Patel said.

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