As part of the concentrated effort to reduce prescription drug abuse, the Federal Government has continued to exercise its authority over the pharmaceutical companies and the regulations that doctors and pharmacists must adhere to in order to prescribe controlled substances such as painkillers. The idea is that while some people genuinely need a prescription for pain medication, many people continue to abuse the pills that often lead to a heroin addiction. Four years ago the DEA instituted Electronic Prescribing for Controlled Substances (EPCS), which allows doctors and pharmacies to prescribe and monitor prescription painkillers entirely online.
Currently, 6.5 million American people over the age of 12 report that they abuse prescription painkillers. Of the 41,300 people who die from drug overdoses, half of them passed away because of their abuse of prescription pain medication.
When the DEA created an online forum for pharmacists and doctors to monitor medications and their patients, the idea was to have better control on how many prescriptions were being written and to whom. While the effort has taken some time to get off the ground, experts believe that the DEA is going to make a push for all pharmacists and doctors to participate in the online program, and New York seems to be leading the way.
Many states have their own version of prescription monitoring already in place, however most states claim that it would be more effective if more doctors and pharmacists utilized the tool. The goal is that any doctor or pharmacist can log into the system and verify that a patient is not doctor shopping or drug seeking
Another advantage of writing prescriptions online is that it much harder for an addict to forge a prescription, or steal a prescription pad. Prescription theft has been an ongoing problem that the Federal Government has been involved with policing for many years. By creating electronic prescriptions there is less of a chance that an addict or dealer would have the ability to alter or steal the prescription.