Kitsap Crime and Justice

The Kitsap Sun staff writes about crime and criminal justice issues.
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Prescription Monitoring: We Have the Law, But Not the Money

February 27th, 2010 by josh farley

“Doctor shopping,” has become a common practice among prescription drug addicts looking to get their next fix. The premise is simple: One doctor won’t write a prescription for oxycodone? Just try the next one.

Most states, including Washington, have decided the way to combat such a tactic is to put them on the books — create a system that tracks  prescriptions, who they go to, and how many pills go with them.

Opiate-based medications like OxyContin can work wonders for pain. But they can also be abused and have nasty consequences — severe addiction and even death. So establishing a program to keep an eye on frequent users was what the Legislature had in mind in trying to curb such drug use.

The bottom line: we have the law here, but the legislature didn’t fund it, according to Lisa Salmi of the state’s Department of Health.

Salmi says the Legislature passed a bill that created the program in 2007. They gave it $683,000, which hired a program manager. But the Legislature declined to fund it further, Salmi said, and the program maanger was laid off, the program stalled.

She said the program would cost $605,500 to implement, and then $562,000 a year to run.

Monitoring programs have taken off around the country, she said. Forty states either have legislation pending or passed. Thirty-three of them have programs up and running.

The Department of Health has set up a Web site that talks about prescription drug abuse, which you can view here.

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One Response to “Prescription Monitoring: We Have the Law, But Not the Money”

  1. Sharon O'Hara Says:

    What isn’t mentioned is that good doctors read the same horror stories of misuse of prescription drugs and worry their own patients might become addicted to the pain meds. They are hesitant to prescribe to anyone for fear of addiction.
    Real people and patients,becoming over whelmed by pain learn to do without help – thanks to the criminal types misuse of prescription pain pills.
    Sharon O’Hara

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