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Governor's Weekly Message Transcript: Combating Prescription Drug Abuse in Delaware


Location: Newark, DE

Not long ago, Delaware launched a program that will help promote a safe and healthy Delaware -- and help prevent some of the devastating effects of prescription drug abuse on families. Back in 2010, I signed the Delaware Prescription Monitoring Act and since then, we have been working diligently to develop and launch a new tool that give doctors, pharmacists and others more information to responsibly treat patients.

Prescription drug abuse is the fastest-growing drug problem in the country. It's not easy to talk about because it destroys so many lives, so many families and so many communities. Until now, there has been no formal network in Delaware for doctors to readily share information about the drugs they are prescribing for patients. Now, with the launch of our state's new Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP), our state Division of Professional Regulation will be collecting information on controlled substance prescriptions.

The information comes from medical practitioners who prescribe the drugs and pharmacies which dispense the drugs. What it means is practitioners will be able to access the system to quickly and easily see where and when patients obtained prescriptions for controlled substances; who wrote those prescriptions; and which pharmacies dispensed the drugs. Patients may also request their own report at any time.

We know many people throughout our state have legitimate needs for controlled substances, and this program is not intended to prevent them from getting their prescriptions. It is intended to prevent people from abusing prescription drugs.

It will be much more difficult for people to "doctor shop" for medication, whether they intend to abuse the drugs themselves or sell them. We are exploring ways the system can eventually be integrated into other electronic medical records databases, such as the Delaware Health Information Network (DHIN), and linked with similar systems in surrounding states. We want to reduce the prevalence of prescription drug abuse; provide valuable information to those trying to care for us; and help keep families in Delaware healthy for their futures and our future -- as we work together to keep Delaware moving forward.

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