Overdose Epidemic, Prescription Monitoring Programs, and Public Health: A Review of State Laws

Am J Public Health. 2015 Nov;105(11):e9-e11. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2015.302856. Epub 2015 Sep 17.


Prescription monitoring programs (PMPs), state-level databases that collect patient-specific prescription information at the time medications are dispensed, have been suggested as tools to address the overdose epidemic. We reviewed all laws in the United States (n = 25) that articulated the purposes PMPs are intended to serve. Attributes related to reducing abuse, misuse, and diversion of prescription medications appeared most commonly. Only 5 purpose statements mentioned the promotion of public health as goals of the PMP, and only 3 listed improving health care. None listed overdose prevention as a goal of the PMP.

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics, Opioid / toxicity*
  • Drug Overdose / epidemiology*
  • Drug and Narcotic Control / organization & administration*
  • Epidemics
  • Humans
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'
  • Prescription Drugs / toxicity*
  • Public Health
  • United States


  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Prescription Drugs