State combats opioid abuse with prescription monitoring

A now-mandatory database keeps track of all the medications patients are prescribed from all Arkansas doctors.

Health leaders believe one solution to tackle the opioid epidemic is to keep prescribers from over-prescribing.

Doctors in Arkansas are keeping better tabs on what patients are taking through an online program.

The Arkansas Prescription Monitoring Program isn't new, but several months ago using the tool was made mandatory by law for anyone who writes prescriptions.

"Having this program essentially lets us confront them and then address those issues," said Dr. Nihit Kumar with UAMS.

It tells doctors what their patient is already prescribed by other doctors.

"They’re definitely paying more attention to how much there prescribing," Kumar said.

Statics show the number of patients ‘doctor shopping’ is down with the number of doses to those patients down 91 percent.

“There’s been more responsible prescribing since the law passed," said Philip Way, pharmacist at Remedy Drug.

The program was created in 2011, but wasn't mandatory for prescribers until this year. Now more than 15,000 prescribers are using the site. Pharmacists aren’t required to use the tool, but they have access to it and many have been using it for years.

“We can look at see where they’ve been, who prescribed it, how many, what day," Way said. Extremely helpful for us because were the last point of contact were where the opioids get on the streets."

© 2017 KTHV-TV


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