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    Lessons learned from one state’s drug crackdown initiatives

    Florida’s prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) and pill mill laws have led to statistically significant decreases in opioid prescriptions, opioid volume and morphine milligram equivalent per transaction, according to a new study in JAMA Internal Medicine.

    After the implementation of Florida’s stringent laws and PDMP:

    • Oxycodone purchases by Florida doctors decreased 97%, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and only 13 of the top 100 oxycodone-dispensing prescribers remained in Florida, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). In 2013, that number dropped to zero, according to the CDC.
    • Opioid overdose fatalities also plummeted. Between 2010 and 2012, Florida recorded a 26.1% decrease in opioid analgesic overdose deaths, according to CDC. The Florida Department of Health said that from 2010 to 2013, oxycodone overdose deaths fell from 1,516 to 534—a 65% decrease.

    These statistics illustrate the dramatic impact Florida’s PDMP and tougher laws have had on rogue pill mills, opioid abuse and overdose deaths, says Kent Runyon, executive director of Novus Medical Detox Center.

    Related: Study: One in two teens misuse Rx drugs

    “Other states would be wise to follow Florida’s example, since pain clinics will set up shop wherever there are lax laws and weak regulatory oversight,” Runyon says. “Everyone involved in direct patient care or in any way affiliated with medical care is impacted by persons suffering from addiction and abuse of prescription medications. This behavior increases the cost of care and counteracts any efforts put toward wellness.”

    This system tracks prescription medication orders and therefore can lead to the identification of persons who are doctor shopping or by other means are filling prescriptions at a rate that suggests some form of abuse or illegal activity, according to Runyon.

     

    NEXT: Information sharing among states

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