To curb opioid abuse, new technologies must be embraced

January 8, 2018

To curb opioid abuse, new technologies must be embraced

Written by Tom Sullivan, MD, chief strategic officer, DrFirst


In October 2017, the Trump administration declared the opioid crisis a national public health emergency. While the impact of this declaration currently remains unclear due to the lack of serious funding, the severity of the problem is undeniable: 7.3 Americans die every hour from opioid overdoses and related causes, based on 2017 CDC data—a dramatic 52% increase from 3.8 per hour in 2015. Worse yet, this number is conservative as many opioid-related deaths are often attributed to other causes.

Over the last several years, numerous states have responded to the crisis by mandating and implementing electronic prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) and the electronic prescribing of controlled substances (EPCS). Currently, 11 states have either mandated EPCS or have pending legislation. Only one state (Missouri) has a PDMP that is being implemented county by county since its governor signed an executive order after the legislature failed to pass a bill.

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