Press Release

Embargoed Until Contact

February 13, 2013

Sue Ducat
Director of Communications
(301) 841-9962


From Health Affairs


Several Health Care Benefits Expected from Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs; Much Work Needs To Be Done


Bethesda, MD -- A new study, released today as a Web First by Health Affairs, finds that prescription monitoring programs, although originally designed to help law enforcement and regulatory agencies spot possible illegal activity, are now also helping health care providers improve patient safety and quality of care.

Prescription drug abuse is a national public health concern with 14,800 opioid-related deaths reported in 2008--four times the number reported in 1999. According to the study, prescription monitoring is a work in progress with 44 states currently implementing programs and 5 more states about to adopt them. Analyzing peer-reviewed published literature and government documents, the authors highlight the need to improve the efficacy of prescription drug monitoring programs. This will require more standardization and interstate cooperation, better training for providers, more secure funding, and further evaluation.


Measures Such As Interstate Cooperation Would Improve The Efficacy Of Programs To Track Controlled Drug Prescriptions


By Richard A. Deyo, Jessica M. Irvine, Lisa M. Millet, Todd Beran, Nicole O'Kane, Dagan A. Wright, and Dennis McCarty


Deyo and McCarty are affiliated with Oregon Health and Science University in Portland; Irvine and O'Kane are with Acumentra Health in Portland; Millet, Beran, and Wright are with the State of Oregon's Injury and Violence Prevention Program. The study, also to appear in the journal's March issue, was supported by two grants from the National Institutes of Health.


This study analyzes the design and variations among programs, controversies surrounding these programs, and their impact on individual patient care as well as population health. "Given the infrastructure developed to date, the still-immature nature of most programs, rapid evolution, promising enhancements, and suggestive evidence of both law enforcement and health care benefits, we believe it prudent to support ongoing funding for the programs, enhancements, and further evaluations," the authors conclude.

About Health Affairs

Health Affairs is the leading journal at the intersection of health, health care, and policy. Published by Project HOPE, the peer-reviewed journal appears each month in print, with additional Web First papers published periodically and health policy briefs published twice monthly at You can also find the journal on Facebook and Twitter. Read daily perspectives on Health Affairs Blog. Download weekly Narrative Matters podcasts on iTunes.

The full text of each Health Affairs Web First paper is available free of charge to all Web-site visitors for a two-week period following posting, after which it switches to pay-per-view for nonsubscribers. Web First papers are supported in part by a grant from The Commonwealth Fund.