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RIDOH Plan Aims to Increase Registration in Prescription Drug Monitoring Program

As a part of ongoing efforts to address Rhode Island's drug overdose crisis, the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) has developed an education, notification, and enforcement plan to increase healthcare provider registration in the State's system for tracking the prescribing of medication. In June of 2014, legislation was passed requiring all prescribers with an active Controlled Substance Registration to register for the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP), yet as of October 2015, only 59% of prescribers who were required to register had done so.

The system allows healthcare providers to supplement their patient-history files when making treatment decisions and to know what controlled substances are being prescribed to their patients by others.

"Too many addictions start with prescribed medicines," said Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH, Director of the Rhode Island Department of Health. "All prescribers are required to use the PDMP because it saves lives by helping to prevent drug interactions, accidental overdose, death, dependence, possible addiction, and potential diversion."

More than 1,000 Rhode Islanders have died in the last five years as a result of drug overdoses. Shortly after taking office, Governor Gina Raimondo recognized the overdose crisis as a public health threat and established the Overdose Prevention and Intervention Task Force, which is co-chaired by Dr. Alexander-Scott, and Maria Montanaro, Director of the Department of Behavioral Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Hospitals. Earlier this month, the Task Force presented the Governor with the Overdose Prevention and Intervention Strategic Plan. One of the major components of this strategic plan is reducing the co-prescribing of opioids and benzodiazepines, which are commonly prescribed to treat anxiety.

The PDMP Education, Notification, and Enforcement Plan is scheduled to be issued in January 2016. The plan outlines how training resources and a notification schedule will be used to encourage healthcare providers to register with the PDMP. Reminder communications and educational resources, such as a user's guide and face-to-face training sessions in doctors' offices, are the focus of the plan in the initial months of 2016. Healthcare providers who are required to register with the PDMP but still have not done so by April 2016 will then be referred to their professional board.

RIDOH will hold a community review meeting on December 3 at 1 p.m. to gather feedback on the PDMP Education, Notification, and Enforcement Plan. This meeting will take place in RIDOH's lower level auditorium (3 Capitol Hill, Providence). Feedback can also be submitted by emailing Peter Ragosta, Chief Administrative Officer, Board of Pharmacy at

RIDOH is continually working with healthcare providers to make improvements to the PDMP and is expecting to make some major changes early next year that will improve its ease-of-use.

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