Establishing a Prescription Drug Monitoring System
New Hampshire Governor John Lynch signed a bill establishing a prescription drug monitoring system this week. This makes New Hampshire the 49th state to use a database to keep track of commonly abused drugs. Prescription drug monitoring programs want to reduce the abuse of prescription drugs and doctor shopping. All other states except Missouri have databases or have authorized them, but lawmakers in New Hampshire repeatedly rejected the idea of a database before passing a bill this spring.
“The treatment community, prevention, law enforcement, the medical community – the reason they all came together is because it is a critically important piece of legislation,” said New Hampshire Safety Commissioner John Barthelmes. “We have a significant problem with the misuse, abuse and diversion of prescription medication. This is going to be an important tool, not only for public health – it’s going to allow physicians to better treat their patients – but from our end, for public safety.”
The Need for Prescription Drug Monitoring
Between 2008 and 2011, the number of prescription pain pills seized by New Hampshire’s drug task force increased by almost 500 percent. Teenagers in New Hampshire abuse prescription drugs at a higher rate than the national average.