Officials with the Georgia Drugs and Narcotics Agency say a new database is expected to help doctors and law enforcement keep tabs on prescription drug abuse. Agency director Rick Allen said the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program has been available to pharmacists and physicians for less than a month, but already, 2,000 medical professionals have submitted prescriptions.
A new program designed to combat prescription drug abuse in Georgia might run out of money to operate only a few months after it gets under way in June. Georgia lawmakers didn't appropriate any funding for the prescription monitoring program when they passed legislation to create it in 2011. The program involves an electronic database that tracks prescriptions.
Georgia officials are working on a prescription drug database they expect will help with what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls an epidemic of overdose deaths. By next January, state law requires the new database to be online so doctors and pharmacists can track patients' prescriptions and spot potential abuse.
Georgia has been awarded a $400,000 grant to implement a prescription drug monitoring program. Thirty-seven states have prescription drug monitoring systems. Georgia has passed legislation to establish the program, but has not designated funding for it.
A comprehensive physician-led effort to fight the spread of prescription drug abuse and its destructive supply chain launched Tuesday in Gainesville. The initiative aims to attack the problem through education and legislation.