8/11/2014, Montana faces challenges in bottling up prescription drug abuse


In fact, there are 82 painkiller prescriptions for every 100 Montanans and more than 300 deaths from prescription drug overdoses in 2010 and in 2011…

Statistics suggest the state is gaining the upper hand on prescription drug abuse. The number of prescription drug-related deaths in Montana was 109 in 2013, according to the state Department of Public Health and Human Services. The number of people prosecuted for prescription drug crimes in Yellowstone County has fallen 70 percent from 2011 to 2013…

But only 24.4 percent of health care providers eligible to use the list actually do, according to a May report by the Montana Board of Pharmacy to state legislators. The 2015 Legislature will have to revisit the registry to determine whether to change the fee that supports the $300,000 program. 

Wyoming started its registry in 2003. It took several years before the majority of the state’s medical professionals were using the list, but most now do, said Mary Walker, the state’s Pharmacy Board executive. Large pharmacy chains concerned about liability in prescription drug cases played a big role in boosting use, Walker said.

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