Health providers get improved tools to monitor prescription drug abuse

FILE - This Feb. 19, 2013 file photo shows OxyContin pills are arranged for a photo at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vt. In a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in December 2015, drug overdoses in the U.S. rose again in 2014, driven by surges in deaths from heroin and powerful prescription painkillers such as Vicodin and Oxycontin. Overall, overdose deaths in the U.S. surpassed 47,000 — up 7 percent from 2013. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File)

JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) — Prescription drug abuse is a problem across the county and right here in mid-Michigan.

But now health care providers  have enhanced tools to make sure potentially dangerous drugs aren’t over-prescribed to patients.

As a nurse practitioner at the Center for Family Health in Jackson, Liz Findley uses the MAPS program daily.

“Make sure that they’re getting their medication that I’ve prescribed, and also making sure they’re not getting medication from any other providers,” Findley said.

MAPS stands for Michigan Automated Prescription System.

The state recently pumped in more than $2 million to improve the online system that can only be accessed by health providers and law enforcement.

“Before we had to wait 5, maybe 10 minutes and now I hit submit and there is their record,” Findley said.

Health providers can now see a patient’s narcotic prescription history going back several years and into other states.

The improvements were made to make sure these powerful drugs are not over-prescribed and lead to addiction.

“A patient comes in with a broken leg, or something short term, and then when the doctor determines they didn’t need it anymore, then they move onto heroin because it’s cheaper,” Findley said.

The Michigan Pharmacists Association worked with the state to make these improvements.

“It’s been a long time coming,” said CEO Larry Wagenknecht.

Wagenknecht says while the updates were badly needed, they aren’t a cure-all to prescription drug abuse.

He says providers will still need to read between the lines.

“What the system cannot do is determine is whether or not the person is abusing or not abusing. There are some behaviors that can show up but it’s never a guarantee,” Wagenknecht said.

The CEO says providers will still be able to glean a lot of information from the improved version of MAPS, and they should make sure to implement the program into how they care for patients.

Findley says MAPS is just one of many tools that can help fight this problem.

“I think it’s on the providers to be diligent about their prescribing habits,” Findley said.

 

 

We welcome thoughts and comments from our viewers. We ask that everyone keep their remarks civil and respectful. Postings that contain profanity, racist, or potentially libelous remarks will be deleted. We will delete any commercial postings, as well.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s