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Implementation of an electronic monitoring program for prescription drugs

Award Information

Award #
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2006, $400,000)

In Fiscal Year 2006, Congress appropriated $7,500,000 to the U.S. Department of Justice to support the Harold Rogers Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. Prescription monitoring programs are systems where controlled substance dispensing data is submitted to a centralized database administered by an authorized state agency. These programs are designed to help prevent and detect the diversion and abuse of pharmaceutical controlled substances, particularly at the retail level where no other automated information collection system exists. States that have implemented prescription drug monitoring programs have the capability of collecting and analyzing prescription data much more efficiently than states without such programs, where the collection of prescription information requires the manual review of pharmacy files which is a very time consuming and invasive process. The increased efficiency of prescription monitoring programs allows for the early detection of abuse trends and possible sources of diversion. The analysis of collected data also allows for the identification of outmoded prescribing practices, such as the undertreatment of pain, which may result in the development of educational programs for medical professionals.

While it is a matter of certainty that prescription drug abuse exists throughout our country, Colorado lacks a formal systematic tracking mechanism for prescription controlled substsnce use or abuse.

The goal of an electronic monitoring program of prescription drugs is to persuade law enforcement to accept the state's monitoring program as a tool to curb the illicit behaviors of diversion, doctor shopping, and inappropriate prescribing. Therefore, the information contained in this monitoring program needs to be accurate, have proper protection of private health information, and lead to a reduction in criminal behavior.

Currently, there is no data in Colorado that addresses the scope of diversion or abuse of prescription drugs. The electronic monitoring program created in House Bill 05-1130 is the first step in quantifying one aspect of these problems. The Colorado Board of Pharmacy(Board) with the assistance of the advisory committee and its collaborative efforts, will create analytical reports designed to determine the correlation between data collected and enforcement efforts. The long term goal is two-fold: First, to decrease the time law enforcement investigates prescription drug abuse cases; and second to reduce drug diversion, doctor shopping and inappropriate prescribing.


Date Created: August 30, 2006