Pennsylvania and four other states have joined the New Jersey Prescription Monitoring Program designed to help in the fight opioid abuse and addiction.
Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine and West Virginia enrolled in the centralized data-sharing system for health care providers and pharmacists to track narcotic painkiller, opioid and other prescription sales, Gov. Chris Christie announced Wednesday.
President Donald Trump tapped Christie in March to lead a White House commission that will address the nation’s opioid epidemic.
“We will keep growing the NJPMP as bipartisan leaders of more states recognize it is an invaluable solution to protect people from the disease of addiction and to connect tens of millions of people with immediate treatment, including those who otherwise would have been lost under the radar,” Christie wrote in a statement.
New York, Connecticut, Delaware, South Carolina, Rhode Island, Virginia and Minnesota already are in the national program that Christie launched in New Jersey in 2011.
The monitoring program aims to prevent and treat drug addiction, misuse and multistate “doctor shopping,” which is when someone visits multiple physicians to get multiple prescriptions.
“With every new partner we add to the NJPMP, we’re building a broader, stronger network more capable of combating prescription drug abuse and diversion,” Attorney General Christopher Porrino wrote in a statement.
In 2016, the hub facilitated more than 1 million prescriber data requests between New Jersey and its program partners. Those requests numbered more than 800,000 in the first five months of this year.
Each record in the program includes the names of the patient, doctor and pharmacy, drug dispensing date, type of days’ supply, quantity of medication and method of payment. The program also upgraded its searching capabilities to make it easier for physicians to identify people at-risk of substance abuse.
It has also been a tool for law-enforcement and regulatory investigations. The database has been used to identify and prosecute “pill mills” that dispense of painkillers inappropriately or for nonmedical reasons, experts said.
“These enhancements to the data-sharing system, coupled with the addition of five new partner states, strengthens the NJPMP’s role as a vital tool in fighting addiction,” said Steve Lee, director of the state Division of Consumer Affairs, in a statement.