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Optimizing Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs To Support Law Enforcement Activities

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 2015
16 pages
This study used qualitative and quantitative methods in examining how law enforcement agencies perceive and use prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs).
Although there is variation among States in the design and implementation of their PDMPs, they all have the goals of reducing the diversion and abuse of prescription drugs. The findings of this study indicate that the amount and content of training that law enforcement investigators receive regarding the features and uses of PDMPs determines whether they perceive the usefulness of PDMPs in addressing the diversion and abuse of prescription drugs. This perception, in turn, determines the frequency of their monitoring of their State's PDMP, as well as how the data are interpreted and applied in countering the abuse and diversion of prescription drugs in their agency's jurisdiction. In addition, the study found that law enforcement personnel view the lack of access to PDMP data from surrounding States as an impediment to the investigation of prescription drug abuse in their own jurisdictions. This report recommends a study of the variability in law enforcement agencies' access to PDMPs in the States in their region and how this impacts the usefulness, urgency, and effectiveness of the investigation of the prevalence and consequences of prescription drug abuse in their jurisdictions. The current study used qualitative and quantitative methods to examine a sample of nine State PDMPs, including those in Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia, where the epidemic of prescription drug abuse and diversion is especially prevalent. The study design included interviews with PDMP managers, surveys of law enforcement personnel, and focus groups of law enforcement personnel in four States. 8 tables and 17 references

Date Published: July 1, 2015