NEWARK – The New Jersey Prescription Monitoring Program (NJPMP) is now actively sharing data with Connecticut's Prescription Monitoring Program in a partnership to empower New Jersey's licensed healthcare professionals in the fight against prescription drug abuse and diversion, Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman announced today.
"The NJPMP is not just a statewide resource, but a regional resource to fight the epidemic of opiate abuse," Acting Attorney General Hoffman said. "As powerful as our prescription tracking database is, healthcare users were only able to obtain information about prescriptions written in New Jersey. Today we are expanding the NJPMP to help prescribers and pharmacists identify doctor-shopping and other suspicious behaviors across state lines."
The partnership with Connecticut is just the beginning, Acting Attorney General Hoffman noted. The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, which maintains the NJPMP, also is working to implement a partnership with the State of Delaware for mutual data-sharing between the two states' prescription monitoring programs. The Division also is communicating with other states, with the ultimate goal of creating a regional Prescription Monitoring Program network. The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) is facilitating the connection between New Jersey's and Connecticut's prescription monitoring programs, through its PMP Interconnect (PMPi) data-sharing hub.
"Our goal is to make New Jersey's Prescription Monitoring Program a model for the nation in terms of its ease of use, breadth of available data, and usage by prescribers and pharmacists," Division of Consumer Affairs Acting Director Steve Lee said. "The Division of Consumer Affairs doesn't just regulate the healthcare community; we are working to fully engage that community in the fight against this public health crisis."
The NJPMP collects detailed information on every prescription filled in New Jersey for controlled dangerous substances (CDS) or human growth hormone – more than 32 million prescriptions since data collection began in September 2011. Each record includes the names of the patient, doctor, and pharmacy; purchase date; type, dosage and amount of medication; and method of payment.
The NJPMP is available to all licensed healthcare practitioners who are authorized by the State of New Jersey to prescribe or dispense CDS medications. They can search individual patients' prescribing patterns and learn, for example, whether a patient has engaged in "doctor shopping" – deceptively visiting multiple physicians, to obtain more narcotics than any one doctor would prescribe – or other patterns consistent with addiction or abuse.
Through the new partnership between the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs and the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection, licensed healthcare practitioners in each state now are able to access data from the other state's prescription monitoring program.
Each state's requirements for, and limitations on, prescription monitoring program data will remain in place under the data-sharing agreements. For example, New Jersey healthcare practitioners who wish to access data from Connecticut's prescription monitoring program must be properly licensed and registered in New Jersey, and must meet all applicable requirements of Connecticut's prescription monitoring program. Practitioners licensed in Connecticut are similarly bound by New Jersey's requirements regarding access to, and confidentiality of, NJPMP data.
"The ability to share controlled substance prescription data across our two states will be of great help in properly managing patient treatment, including referrals to substance abuse or addiction treatment when appropriate," Connecticut Commissioner of Consumer Protection William M. Rubenstein said. "The scourge of prescription drug abuse defies geographical boundaries as it disregards human lives."
Today's announcement was made in connection with National Prevention Week, an observance dedicated to increasing public awareness of substance abuse issues.
On Tuesday, the Star-Ledger published an op-ed by Acting Director Lee, urging New Jersey's licensed healthcare providers to embrace the NJPMP as a life-saving tool in the fight against prescription drug abuse. The op-ed can be read in full here.
For much more information on the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs' initiative to halt the diversion and abuse of prescription drugs, view the Division's NJPMP website, and the Division's Project Medicine Drop website.
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