Sunday, April 18, 2010

Technology Tracking Drugs

Ohio Governor Ted Strickland signed an Executive Order to provide a more comprehensive and coordinated approach to combating prescription drug abuse across the state. The Governor is calling on all doctors and pharmacists to use the Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System. Once registered, the system enables healthcare professionals and law enforcement to be able to request Rx History reports. All public documents distributed by the system are available.

Today, although all pharmacists report into this system, only one in five use the system when filling prescriptions. The system is able to track prescriptions every time pain medications are prescribed. The state has set aside $250,000 in Justice Assistance Grants for local law enforcement to use to expand or improve their efforts to control the dispensing of pain medications.

Prescription drug abuse has been identified as a rising public health problem on the national level and has reached epidemic rates in Ohio. Ohio’s death rate due to unintentional drug poisoning has increased more than 300 percent from 1999 to 2007 and is now the leading cause of injury death in the state.

The Executive Order establishes the Ohio Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force to help unite the ongoing efforts at the federal, state, and local levels. The Task Force is charged with researching the issue and identifying public health, law enforcement, updating legislation, and using other strategies to reduce the danger of prescription drug abuse. Findings and recommendations will be reported to the Governor and the Ohio General Assembly.

Links are available at the Ohio Department of Health at www.odh.ohiolgov/drugoverdose to other state prescription monitoring programs such as Indiana INSPECT, Kentucky’s All Schedule Prescription Electronic Reporting, and Michigan’s Automated Prescription System.

The Governor of Alabama has signed into law a bill that will help the state fight the use of meth. The new law creates an electronic database so law enforcement can quickly track excessive purchases of pseudoephedrine, the chief ingredient used in the manufacture of meth.

The electronic database replaces paper records and now it is possible for the state to restrict excessive purchases of pseudoephedrine and help law enforcement do instant tracing. Every pharmacy or retailer selling ephedrine or pseudoephedrine products under the new law are required to enter the purchaser’s identifying information into the database prior to any sale. The database then notifies the seller if the purchaser has exceeded their daily or monthly limit for such purchases.