With prescription drug abuse now at worrying levels across Massachusetts, the state’s Public Health Council has launched a new range of measures that is aimed to lower cases of opiate dependency, and to stop addicts from shopping around for doctors in the hope of obtaining some drugs. In a way, it is helping the state to make the most out of its involvement in the Prescription Monitoring Program, which has become a compulsory requirement for medical centers and pharmacies. It stores patient records in a secure, central system, and monitors how many times prescriptions are taken out. There are also going to be relaxed rules on the drug naloxone, which aims to undo the damage that can be caused by an overdose to prescription drugs.
There had been concerns of a so-called epidemic of opiate overdoses in the region. According to the Governor of the time, drug abuse had become a health crisis after the number of overdoses rose by 90% since the start of the century. Only one state is no longer involved in the Prescription Monitoring Program, and that’s Missouri. The reason why the region hasn’t signed up to the initiative is because of concerns over privacy. However, there are concerns in Massachusetts that this new initiative will do little to prevent prescription drug abuse. Some locals fear that addicts will simply try new alternatives in order to find a substance. There is also the concern that there will be an increase in the number of addicts taking illegal drugs instead, in order to try and sate their dependency. Doctors will receive training in order to ensure that they can identify the warning signs that someone is seeking prescription drugs for the sole purpose of substance abuse. It will be a few months before the effects of the new system can be seen.