Pa. becomes 49th state to launch prescription drug monitoring program

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – The Prescription Drug Monitoring Program launched Thursday in hopes of preventing people from “doctor shopping” for their drugs.

Pennsylvania is the 49th state to have the program. It allows doctors and pharmacists to see all drug prescribed to patients.

The program will only show data from Pennsylvania to begin with, but the Department of Health plans to update it to show information from across the country at some point.

“We see that person either go to other doctors and hit multiple doctors to maintain a drug addiction, or we see them go to the street for heroin,” said Jason Snyder, a spokesman for the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs.

The program eventually will include reporting all controlled drugs. Now, only Schedule II drugs – considered the most likely to be abused – are monitored.

Some people have concerns about those addicted to drugs turning to the streets for drugs with this new program in place.

The Health Department hopes doctors can identify addiction issues through the new program and possibly send them to a newly-created center.

“We see that Center of Excellence being really key to keeping them from turning to street and rather going into treatment,” Snyder said.

A group of doctors and people recovering from addiction will serve on an advisory committee.

The state already had a similar program, but it’s only used by law enforcement.


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