Oct 16, 2014 6:48 PM
CONCORD - Prescription drug abuse is on the rise in New Hampshire. To help combat that, today the state launched a new prescription drug monitoring program.
It allows physicians and pharmacists, who choose to be a part of it, to access a data base that tracks patient's prescriptions of schedule two through four drugs. Those drugs are controlled substances that can often be addictive - primarily opiate pain relievers, tranquilizers, barbiturates, and also stimulants like Ritalin and Adderall.
They'll now be able to see the patient's prescription history for these drugs. It's meant to stop any abuse through patients obtaining multiple prescriptions or doctor shopping. It's a real problem nationally and here in New Hampshire.
Dr. David Strang of the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program's advisory committee said, "We have seen a steady exponential rise of opiate pain reliever deaths starting around 2000. Around 2006 we actually recorded more people dying from prescription drug overdoses than were dying on our roads and highways in traffic fatalities. And that has steadily climbed."
New Hampshire lagging behind - the 49th state to implement prescription monitoring. It had a hard time passing in the legislature mainly because of privacy concerns.
In 2012 the legislation was signed, and a federal grant came through earlier this year to implement the program.
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