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How DEA PDMP Share Will Fail

08/29/2019

DEA announced agreements with 46 states, D.C., and Puerto Rico to share "painkiller" prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) information. Previously, even if prescribers could access this information online, the ability of patients to fill prescriptions across state lines limited its accuracy and usefulness. 

In theory this should help prescribers in the affected jurisdictions more closely monitor their patients use of drugs, but like many such initiatives it will add to the time devoted to administrative tasks, meaning less time to talk to and examine patients. Instead of yet another digital information source, prescribers need, and the technology exists to provide, prescription information "pushed" when the prescriber orders the drug. The system just adds to the exploitation of medical providers by government, especially law enforcement, a blatant attempt to get medical providers to solve problems they fail to solve.

Furthermore, this system should provide information about all controlled substances, or even all drugs, to prescribers. 

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said "That means more prosecutions and ultimately fewer drugs on our streets." 

I will believe that when I see it. In my opinion restrictive drug policy has boosted, not stifled, trade in and use of dangerous drugs. Better to make all drugs available over-the-counter to competent adults like more dangerous alcohol and more addictive nicotine. Medical care providers should focus on diagnosis and treatment recommendations. Let pharmacists decide who can get the drug.