Prescription drug abuse is an increasing problem that endangers public health and safety. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) website, the national estimates on drug-related visits to hospital emergency departments were nearly 4.6 million in 2009. Of these 45 percent were attributed to prescription drug abuse. The Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) estimates that these of drug abuse visits, 27.1 percent involved nonmedical use of pharmaceuticals (i.e., prescription or OTC medications, dietary supplements).
It is important to recognize that in Minnesota, prescription drug abuse is not only addressed retroactively through treatment services. Programs such as the Minnesota Prescription Monitoring Program (MNPMP) exist to monitor prescription drug use in an effort to promote public health and welfare by detecting diversion, abuse and misuse of certain controlled substances.
MNPMP was established in January of 2010 by the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy. Under the program licensed prescribers, pharmacists and their delegates are invited to assist in monitoring efforts through the use of the MNPMP electronic database.
This database is comprised of information regarding the dispensing of certain controlled substances, patient controlled substance prescription history for the previous 12-month period, patterns of misuse, potential diversion or abuse, potential drug interaction information, and general use in determining the appropriateness in dispensing.
As an addiction recovery center, Project Turnabout supports and encourages the efforts in preventing and identifying substance abuse issues, said Marti Paulson, Director of Health and Intake Services.
“Prescription drug addiction is one of the fastest growing substance abuse issues we are facing today,” she continued. “It affects people of all ages and walks of life. Programs like MNPMP help providers recognize patients who are abusing prescriptions; ultimately helping the patient access the treatment they need.”