Oxycodone overdose deaths drop 25 percent after launch of Prescgram


Oxycodone-related deaths dropped 25 percent after Florida implemented its Prescription Drug Monitoring Program in late 2011 as part of its response to the state’s prescription drug abuse epidemic, according to researchers. The drop in fatalities could stem from the number of health care providers who used the program’s database to monitor controlled substance prescriptions.

Well, anything’s possible, but maybe, just maybe, the drop in deaths is due to the DEA closing down hundreds upon hundreds of pain clinics, along with numerous pharmacies.  The drop in fatalities could also be attributable to the fear that doctors have in prescribing medications on the DEA’s watch list, including oxycodone, and so just don’t prescribe these drugs anymore.

And now that oxycodone-related deaths (note the term “related”) have been reduced, pain patients in Florida are suffering even more.  Well, I guess it doesn’t matter, as long as the PDMPs are allegedly helping to reduce the deaths in one patient population, while ignoring the suffering and deaths in another, much larger, patient population.


Suicide deaths, 2013:  2,892 (7.9/day)

9th leading cause of death for Floridians
3rd leading cause of death for youth 15-24
2nd leading cause of death for 25-34
4th leading cause of death for 35-44
4th leading cause of death for 45-54

HHS takes strong steps to address opioid-drug related overdose, death and dependence


The President’s FY 2016 budget includes critical investments to intensify efforts to reduce opioid misuse and abuse, including $133 million in new funding…

Providing training and educational resources, including updated prescriber guidelines, to assist health professionals in making informed prescribing decisions and address the over-prescribing of opioids…

So, dependence is now the same as addiction.  Wonderful.

Too bad there’s not any funding to address the real epidemic, the under-treatment and mistreatment of pain.  I’m sure these “educational” resources will tell doctors to stop prescribing pain medications, and instead, just prescribe antidepressants, acupuncture and massage.

And the lives of pain patients are about to get even worse…

Sorry, Heath Ledger would not want this…


Heath Ledger’s father hopes prescription drug monitoring systems will help prevent more tragedies such as his son’s death…

So, Heath’s father would prefer that his son’s name had been included in a PDMP, a blacklist, as if that would have prevented his death.  As if that would have cured his insomnia.  As if he wouldn’t have been able to find drugs in the underground market.  This is so very, very sad…


Improving Use of Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs


Conference scheduled for June 2, 2015

Looking ahead: how can PDMPs be integrated with physician practice and help improve patient care?Join us as NEHI convenes a group of national experts to explore the future of PDMPs, physician practice and patient care.

Bob Twillman, PhD, Executive Director, American Academy of Pain Management

Do you believe that doctors and the American Academy of Pain Management are on the side of pain patients?  If you do, call me, because I’ve got some snake oil for sale, at only a million dollars per dose.  It will cure everything from a hangnail to cancer.

CDC Launches Social Media Campaign [shaming pain patients]


In an attempt to recognize prescription opioid abusers who have been working to change their lives for the better, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) this week launched a new social media initiative welcoming the stories of those who have been affected by prescription painkiller addiction.

The CDC launched its campaign, titled “When the Prescription Becomes the Problem,” this week at the fourth annual National RX Drug Abuse Summit. The social media activity, designed to raise awareness of prescription painkiller abuse and overdose, will run through May 15…

That’s it, create a social media campaign that shames pain patients even more.  Make all pain patients, or anyone who wants to relieve their suffering by choosing pain medications, appear to be drug addicts.  After all, when people are afraid to seek out medical care, they do just fine managing their chronic conditions on their own, right?

Maybe the next campaign by the CDC could include stories of how doctors are abandoning pain patients, and how chronic pain patients are unable to find and receive health care.  Maybe the CDC could even highlight how many pain specialists there are in this country compared to the number of pain patients.

Hey, CDC, how much of your funding is siphoned through the DEA and the NIDA?

3/31/2015, Illinois Department of Human Services press release on PDMPs


More than 26,000 doctors and pharmacists and 1,100 dentists are using the system and sharing information with 17 other states…

The PMP began in 1986, and at that time monitored only Schedule II prescription drugs, including painkillers, such as morphine and hydrocodone. The PMP began collecting information electronically in 2000 and in 2007; the program was expanded to monitor Schedule III through V drugs, including Codeine, Vicodin and Valium.

In 2012, IDHS and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced the PMP Long Term Care (LTC) initiative – an unprecedented opportunity to change the drug prescribing culture in nursing homes. Based upon concerns of the legislature regarding substantial use of behavioral health medications within the nursing home population, IDHS and IDPH entered into an interagency agreement to reduce the use of chemical restraints and improve the quality of care…

According to what I’ve read about long term care and nursing homes, there’s actually an epidemic of untreated pain in these patient populations.  Instead of utilizing pain medications, those in nursing homes are prescribed cheap “behavioral health medications,” to keep them sedated and easy to manage.  And then patients don’t complain about their pain, but if they do, no one listens to them.

The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy’s PMP InterConnect program allows participating states to share information on prescriptions of controlled substances. Through this network, IDHS’ PMP is better able to identify when patients have been issued duplicate prescriptions for controlled substances across state lines. The program alerts prescribers and dispensers when patients exceed recommended limits on controlled substances…

PMP is also working to integrate controlled substance prescription data into Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems to allow access to prescription information across healthcare networks, including emergency departments and short and long-term inpatient care.

Last year, PMP collected 21 million prescription records and 26,000 doctors and pharmacists currently refer to that clinical data on a regular basis. Participating pharmacists and doctors complete about 150,000 PMP searches each month.

As I mentioned in a previous post, once information is stored in your electronic health record, it cannot be removed, even if it’s not true.

Tribal Law and PDMPs


The primary purpose of the Harold Rogers Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) is to enhance the capacity of regulatory and law enforcement agencies…

The program was created by the FY 2002 U.S. Department of Justice Appropriations Act (Public Law 107-77) and has received funding under each subsequent year’s Appropriations Act. Tribal Prescription Drug Monitoring Program Data Sharing Grants (Category 4): Applicants are limited to federally recognized Indian tribal governments as defined under the Indian Self Determination Act, 25 U.S.C. 450b(e). Current Closing Date for Applications: May 28, 2015.