ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Gov. Martin O’Malley is signing a bill to create a prescription drug monitoring program in Maryland.

After Tuesday’s bill signing in Annapolis, the governor will be joined in Baltimore by Gil Kerlikowske, head of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, for a roundtable discussion. Representatives of the medical, pharmaceutical and law enforcement communities will attend.

Health officials who pushed for the bill say cases of prescription drug abuse have been soaring in Maryland. Fran
Phillips, Maryland’s deputy secretary for public health services, testified at a March hearing on the bill in Annapolis that the rate of admissions into drug treatment programs between 2007 and 2010 has almost doubled for prescription drug abuse.

The new monitoring program will enable professionals to track the use of prescription drugs and recognize trends of abuse.

Law enforcement officers will be able to get a subpoena to gather information from the system and investigate, when probable cause is found.

The bill takes effect in October.

Maryland has been one of the few states without a monitoring program for prescription drugs. The General Assembly approved a prescription drug monitoring program in 2006, but the measure was vetoed by then-Republican Gov. Robert Ehrlich. At the time, Ehrlich cited serious financial implications of the bill. He also said it could create a chilling effect on providers prescribing pain management.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Comments (9)
  1. Michael says:

    This story is missing the most important part. What will the drug monitoring program actually do?? Will officials be monitoring pharmacies and the drugs dispensed? What will they monitor? What is supposed to be the end result of the monitoring.
    This is reporting 101!! If you want to write a story, write the whole story!!

  2. Dinger says:

    Just more of Big Brother sticking his nose where it doesn’t belong.

  3. a says:

    Michael I hate when they do this or story has spelling worse than a 1st grader. I hope it is to monitor these doctors who are supplying “junkies” with an excessive amount of unnecessary “pain” medication. And Diner if it will stop that then I am fine with them monitoring that. Not like they already dont monitor a mound of stuff we know or dont know about.

  4. whatnow says:

    Michael is right, the guts of this story is missing. I’m on several prescription drugs at once (not pain killers). I would like to have an idea just what they are going to monitor. Are they going to tell my doctor I can’t take 4 drugs at once, I can only have 2? Why are politicians signing bills that affect our lives without telling us what they are. They did the same thing with a census report last week.

    1. Sabrina Radcliff says:

      Or telling Dr. s what to do. When clearly they are politcians not Dr’s.

  5. janks says:

    That was my first thought, what will the program do. They have no idea and I am sure it will not do whatever it is supposed to do. It will be another waste of money that could of gone to something else. Arent the drs smart enough to notice when their patient is getting too many pills too often. Arent the pharmacies supposedly filled with technology already to track the same person getting pills from different doctors.

  6. KElly says:

    THe reporter is right though when he states that the abuse of prescription drugs are soaring across Maryland, and the sad thing is the drugs are reaching younger crowds. 20 year olds are putting 30mg percocets up their nose, and I applaud the governor for taking notice. Why do you think Social Workers are in such high demand? Because its becoming more noticed drug abuse is an illness….

  7. OkieJokie says:

    The idea of a PMP program is to collect script information regarding class drugs (and other drugs that can be abused). This will give physicians quick access to recent prescribing information/habits within the state to evaluate whether the person is in pain and whether or not they have been doctor shopping for their thirteenth Oxy script this month. It will not solve someone scooting into a nearby state but that will reduce the number of scripts they can ethically get via physicians within each state.

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