New State Prescription Monitoring System Launches

State House - 2SANDWICH – The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) launched a revamped version of its Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP).

The new online state database will enhance doctors’ and pharmacists’ ability to track the prescribing of opioids and other controlled substances to patients in Massachusetts.

Beginning October 15, all prescribers will be required to check the Massachusetts Prescription Awareness Tool (MassPAT) every time they prescribe a Schedule II or Schedule III narcotic, and for first-time prescriptions of benzodiazepines and Schedule IV through Schedule VI drugs.

The mandate was included as part of the comprehensive opioid abuse prevention bill that was signed into law on March 14 and Sandwich State Representative Randy Hunt was a member of the final legislation committee that produced the bill.

“Now with the new program, all of this data will be shared across the six New England states and hopefully the doctor-shopping is going to be eliminated or at least hugely decreased,” said Hunt.

The new tracking system, which replaces the PMP established in 1992, was created following a recommendation by Governor Charlie Baker’s Opioid Working Group.

Hunt said the new system will be effective, but the results may not be noticeable right away.

“Policy measures that are put in are big, over-riding type of changes, they take time,” said Hunt.

DPH reported over 1,500 accidental opioid overdose deaths in Massachusetts in 2015, an 18 percent increase over the more than 1,200 confirmed deaths in 2014.

An average of four people die from an opioid overdose each day in Massachusetts.


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