ST. LOUIS COUNTY (October 20, 2020) - The St. Louis County Prescription Drug Monitoring Program has added new tools for medical professionals in the fight against misuse of controlled substances.
The PDMP monitors the prescribing and dispensing of schedule II-IV controlled substances to assist in the identification and prevention of prescription drug misuse. The goals of this program are to improve controlled substance prescribing, inform clinical practice, and reduce medication misuse and overdose.
The system sends Clinical Alerts to assist healthcare providers in identifying patients potentially at risk for overdose or addiction (substance use disorders). In addition to the existing alert for multiple provider episodes, the system has added an alert on overlapping opioid and benzodiazepine prescriptions and an alert concerning daily opioid dosage amounts. The intent of these notifications is to encourage communication and prompt a supportive conversation between the patient and provider. The alerts themselves shouldn’t be considered grounds to stop prescribing controlled substances or dismiss a patient from care.
“The PDMP continues to be an important clinical care tool for healthcare providers,” St. Louis County Executive Dr. Sam Page said. “We are always looking to enhance the program and are pleased to have the additional features available for providers both here in the St. Louis area and across the state.”
Spring Schmidt, co-director of the Saint Louis County Department of Health, said the added alerts will help better identify patients at risk of substance use disorder or overdose. “Early intervention is critical, as we know that there has been an alarming increase in overdose deaths in the St. Louis area this year,” she said. “Prevention is one of the core components of the County’s Opioid Action Plan, and Clinical Alerts are an additional prevention tool.”
The County’s PDMP has also expanded its interstate data sharing system to include 13 other states. The system allows healthcare providers to query the St. Louis County PDMP and monitoring programs of other states in order to monitor patient populations that travel regularly, including college students, retirees, and flight attendants, among other groups. Without interstate data sharing, healthcare providers would have to query each state’s PDMP individually and combine information from multiple reports. About 20 percent of patient requests performed by Missouri healthcare providers utilize the interstate data sharing functionality.
The County PDMP launched on April 25, 2017, and currently has 75 participating jurisdictions covering 85% of the state’s population.