Prescription drug misuse and abuse remain significant public health problems in the United States.
In Wisconsin, the abuse of painkillers and their relationship with drug addiction have come into focus in recent years as one of the state’s biggest public health issues. Data from the National Household Survey on Drug Use and Health indicate that about 4.3 percent of Wisconsin adults use heroin or another opiate for non-medical purposes. To curb the abuse of opioids and other prescription drugs, almost every state has implemented some version of a prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP). Nevertheless, studies indicate these programs remain underutilized because they are too time-consuming and do not display the prescribing data usefully.
Wisconsin implemented its initial PDMP in 2013. But after an additional series of legislation targeting opioid abuse was signed into law in early 2016, the state decided to pursue a more sophisticated system – one that supports health professionals’ clinical decision making by bringing their attention to the most critical information in their patients’ prescription history reports.
The new system, called the "enhanced prescription drug monitoring program" or ePDMP, uses sophisticated tools built to bring doctors' attention to the most critical information. When physicians search for a patient's name in the new website, notifications like current opioid dosage levels and potentially hazardous combinations of drugs pop up at the top of the page as large, colorful alerts. The new system also alerts users when a patient may be developing an addiction based. The system is one of the first of its kind to incorporate tools that belong to the realm of "big data" analytics.
Physicians will now, be legally required to visit the site before ever prescribing opiates. ePDMP presents physicians with a whole new computer-based task to incorporate into their workflow which may add time to the overall process. This scenario is not ideal but it is a step in the right direction. Pharmacists will also be required to enter prescription data into the system within 24 hours after dispensing drugs, resulting in a system that will be more up-to-date. Numbers would suggest that Wisconsin doctors are already rolling back prescriptions as it is. The state's Controlled Substances Board announced that 8.2 million fewer opioids were prescribed in the third quarter of 2016 compared to the previous year.
Value to the UAE Government
Tramadol (a legal controlled medical drug used to treat moderate to severe pain) misuse has been a long-standing problem in the UAE. In 2015, Experts estimated that between 2 and 4 per cent of the UAE population misuse prescription medication and users as young as 12 are reporting to rehabilitation centers with problems. Although users go from doctor to doctor to obtain prescriptions, the introduction of an electronic system to monitor the prescription and sale of medicines is making progress in combating drug abuse. If a more insightful program similar to the "enhanced prescription drug monitoring program" was launched by the federal government, this would help curb and reduce that number significantly.