As a result of the epidemic of prescription pain killer addiction and abuse, many states have implemented Prescription Drug Monitoring Systems (also known as PDMS). These systems keep statistics on the amount of prescribing and dispensing of pain killers to patients. This cuts down on the over prescribing by doctors and prevents patients from “doctor shopping.” Doctor shopping is the act of going to multiple doctors to get multiple prescriptions. Some patients may do this because they have a large addiction to opiates. Others may do this strictly to resell the pills to other addicts for a profit. Before this systems were in place, a patient could go to as many doctors as they wanted complaining of pain and get as many prescriptions filled as they could by going to multiple pharmacies. Doctors had no way to tell that their patient had seen a doctor yesterday or in some cases even on the same day.
Doctor shopping was a very common practice of addicts. For example, addicts were able to get a prescription of 90 oxycodone immediate release pills from multiple doctors per month. If the addict was able to get 5 scripts filled in one month to sell, that puts over 400 pills on the street with a value close to $13,500. Multiply that by just 10 addicts and you see how this could cause a serious problem.
With the PDMS systems put into place, it keeps doctors from over prescribing pain medication to their patients. If an addict shows up to a doctor looking to get prescribed pain killers, the doctor can now search the PDMS records and see if the patient had seen another doctor for the same reason. When the doctor receives this information, they can contact the authorities to take legal action against the patient.
Though the PDMS system definitely helps to cut back on the abuse, it's not a fool proof system. Pain killers are still very easy to obtain on the street. Patients who get prescribed one prescription of 90 pills per month with no intent of using the prescription as prescribed can easily sell the pills on the black market. This keeps the epidemic alive and growing.
The public needs to be educated on the issue before they decide to try pain killers for recreational purposes. There is a myth surrounding prescription pain killers by the youth who believe they must be safe because they are prescribed by physicians. This couldn't be further from the truth and shows by the growing opiate epidemic.