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Px Drug Monitoring Program Aims To Curb Addiction, Abuse

Patrick Ireland

Prescription drug abuse causes more deaths in New Hampshire each year than car accidents, according to data from the Department of Health and Human Services.

New Hampshire’s prescription drug monitoring program launched Thursday.

David Strang, an emergency room doctor and chairman of the advisory board to the New Hampshire Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, says the program will make it harder for addicts and drug dealers to do what’s called “doctor shopping.”

"If you’re addicted and you get a prescription for a specific pain killer on Monday and fill it at one pharmacy, you’re not going to go to that same pharmacy on Tuesday when you get another prescription," says Strang. "Now [the pharmacies] are all connected so that behavior can’t be hidden anymore.

The program creates a sort of database allowing prescribers and pharmacists to track prescriptions and patient history. 

The rise in heroin addiction in New Hampshire - and across the country - is connected to the ease with which addicts can access prescription pain killers.

Missouri is now the only state without a similar program.

Before joining NHPR in August 2014, Jack was a freelance writer and radio reporter. His work aired on NPR, BBC, Marketplace and 99% Invisible, and he wrote for the Christian Science Monitor and Northern Woodlands.

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