Posted: Oct 22, 2013 9:13 PM by Melissa Anderson - MTN News
HELENA - The Montana Board of Crime Control is hoping a $380,000 grant will help them crack down on the epidemic abuse of prescription drugs, which is said to be one of the fastest-growing problems in Montana and across the nation.
The grant will help expand the state's year-old prescription drug monitoring program into other states.
"We have the bare bones of our system up and running where pharmacies can submit data and providers can search patient history if they are licensed in Montana. But we do not yet have the software capability to share data with other states," said program manager Donna Peterson.
Sharing data with other states' prescription drug registries is a priority for Montana, especially in the Bakken area of eastern Montana, where drug cases are said to be up more than 190 percent.
"In 2008 and 2012 in the Bakken area, there was increase of 194% between those four years for all drug offenses. So that would include all types of drugs that are illegal, including prescription drug abuse," said Montana Board of Crime Control director Brooke Marshall.
Currently the drug registry program has nearly 20 percent participation by doctors and others statewide.
"As of the end of September we have about 740 licensed pharmacies submitting data to us and we have over three point six million prescriptions in the data base now. That's growing every month," said Peterson.
Although there are no hard facts to back it up, the online reporting system is said to be making a dent in intentional abuse and illegal use of a legal product.