Prescription Drug Abuse in Minnesota
With the death of hockey player Derek Boogaard, the spotlight has been shined upon prescription drug abuse and doctor shopping in Minnesota. Two years ago, Minnesota set up a prescription drug monitoring program. The database is designed to help physicians and pharmacists across Minnesota identify patients who may be addicted to prescription pain pills. Supporters of the database, however, are disappointed that many physicians in Minnesota are still not utilizing the database.
“I probably see about three to four patients a month that I would not take because of their record with utilization of the medications,” said Al Anderson, the medical director for Medical Pain Management LTD. Anderson checks the database to see if his patient has neglected to disclose prescriptions from other physicians. “We found people who have been doctor shopping,” said Anderson.
The bigger issue is that use of the monitoring system by physicians and pharmacists is completely voluntary. “The system only works if people use it and there’s no requirement to use it,” said Cody Wiberg, the executive director of the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy. The MBP administers the Minnesota Prescription Monitoring Program.