Colorado’s PDMP: A Powerful Tool to Reduce Prescription Drug Abuse

Prescription pills bottles

There is a true danger to the residents of Colorado, and it’s hiding in plain sight. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there were 536 opioid-related overdose deaths in Colorado alone in 2016. Many substance use disorders involving opioids and opiates begin with the misuse of prescription opioids.

Though it is true that some people gain access to prescription medications through illicit means, many times these medications are received via legitimate physician-sanctioned prescriptions.

There are cases wherein physicians and pharmacists dispensing prescription medications, including controlled substances, do not have all the pertinent information about the patient required to make the safest and most informed decision.

Colorado is experiencing this lack of knowledge with a potentially life-saving program. A prescription drug monitoring program, or a PDMP, is designed to help both prescribers and distributors of prescription medications to be more aware, to be more informed and to make better decisions to help prevent opioid and opiate substance misuse.

PDMPs are used to reduce prescription drug misuse across the state of Colorado. The goal of a prescription drug monitoring program is to make detailed information on patients, such as their prescription history, readily available to both doctors’ offices and pharmacies to ensure that the medication prescribed is safe for the individual and will not contribute to prescription drug misuse.

Pharmacist filling a prescription

Colorado’s PDMP database was enacted in 2005 in an attempt to reduce the state’s prescription drug misuse statistics. This database is a treasure trove of information to help providers make the most informed decisions involving powerful prescription medications and controlled substances. Registration is required under the law for providers, and its continued use is strongly recommended.

Colorado also has a PDMP workgroup with the expressed goal of improving Colorado’s PDMP program, staying up-to-date with the best practices and procedures when monitoring controlled substance prescriptions, collaborating with the newest healthcare systems for ease of assimilation and brainstorming additions to the PDMP program to improve success.

Colorado has taken extraordinary measures to fight on the frontlines in the war against substance use disorders, particularly substance misuse issues involving opioid or opiate addiction and prescription drug misuse.

In 2013, the Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention launched an initiative called Take Meds Seriously to raise awareness for safe use, safe storage and safe disposal of controlled substances and prescribed medications.

Two pharmacists filling prescriptions

Programs like PDMPs deliver pertinent information, raise awareness and enact change involving prescription drug misuse. PDMPs are useful to providers working to keep patients safe from prescription drug misuse while still providing the medications needed to address patient medical issues.

Where to Go for Help for Prescription Drug Misuse

Though PDMPs work to reduce the likelihood of developing substance use disorders arising from prescription drug misuse, there are other tools available to help those patients who may have already become addicted to prescription medications.

If you are dealing with a substance use disorder, there is help in Colorado. There are expert addiction treatment programs and recovery resources readily available to you. Contact The Recovery Village Palmer Lake today to speak confidentially with an intake coordinator who can help you to find a treatment program in your area.