Regulating opioid prescribing through prescription monitoring programs: balancing drug diversion and treatment of pain

Pain Med. 2004 Sep;5(3):309-24. doi: 10.1111/j.1526-4637.2004.04049.x.


Social policies have evolved to address the associated concerns related to the public health crises of drug abuse and undertreated pain. Prescription monitoring programs (PMPs) have been used for many years in this effort but are undergoing re-evaluation and restructuring in light of changes in technology as well as changes in our understanding of the collateral impact of such programs. We reviewed the state of PMPs in the United States and highlighted recent changes in these programs that have occurred nationally. The current changes occurring in California, with the most physicians of any U.S. state as well as the oldest triplicate-based serialized prescription program, are reviewed, with focus on the transition to tamper-resistant prescriptions that use security paper forms. Future trends for PMPs are described, including the potential for widespread use of electronic prescribing, which is gaining favor with the Drug Enforcement Agency.

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics, Opioid / therapeutic use*
  • California
  • Drug Prescriptions*
  • Drug Utilization Review / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Drug and Narcotic Control / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Government Agencies / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Government Programs / organization & administration*
  • Government Regulation*
  • Humans
  • Legislation, Drug
  • Legislation, Pharmacy
  • Pain / drug therapy*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / prevention & control
  • United States


  • Analgesics, Opioid