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State Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs

Questions & Answers

Updated October 2011

  1. What is a prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP)?
  2. Does the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) oversee PDMPs?
  3. What are the benefits of having a PDMP?
  4. Which states currently have a PDMP?
  5. Are there other states that are planning to implement a PDMP?
  6. Who can I contact regarding a PDMP in a specific state?
  7. Where can I find state laws pertaining to prescription drug monitoring?
  8. Who can access the PDMP information collected?
  9. Is federal funding available for PDMPs?
  10. What is the difference between HRPDMP and NASPER?

1. What is a prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP)?

According to the National Alliance for Model State Drug Laws (NAMSDL), a PDMP is a statewide electronic database which collects designated data on substances dispensed in the state. The PDMP is housed by a specified statewide regulatory, administrative or law enforcement agency. The housing agency distributes data from the database to individuals who are authorized under state law to receive the information for purposes of their profession.

2. Does the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) oversee PDMPs?

The DEA is not involved with the administration of any state PDMP.

3. What are the benefits of having a PDMP?

The overview provided by NAMSDL clearly identifies the benefits of a PDMP: as a tool used by states to address prescription drug abuse, addiction and diversion, it may serve several purposes such as:

  1. support access to legitimate medical use of controlled substances,
  2. identify and deter or prevent drug abuse and diversion,
  3. facilitate and encourage the identification, intervention with and treatment of persons addicted to prescription drugs,
  4. inform public health initiatives through outlining of use and abuse trends, and
  5. educate individuals about PDMPs and the use, abuse and diversion of and addiction to prescription drugs.

4. Which states currently have a PDMP?

According to the Alliance of States with Prescription Monitoring Programs, (www.pmpalliance.org) as of October 16, 2011, 37 states have operational PDMPs that have the capacity to receive and distribute controlled substance prescription information to authorized users. States with operational programs include:

Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Eleven states (Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, South Dakota, Washington, and Wisconsin) and one U.S. territory (Guam), have enacted legislation to establish a PDMP, but are not fully operational.

5. Are there other states that are planning to implement a PDMP?

At this time there is no pending legislation for the remaining states.

6. Who can I contact regarding a PDMP in a specific state?

Each state designates a state agency to oversee its PDMP, which may include health departments, pharmacy boards, or state law enforcement. The Alliance of States with Prescription Monitoring Programs (www.pmpalliance.org) maintains a list of state contacts.

7. Where can I find state laws pertaining to prescription drug monitoring?

The National Alliance for Model State Drug Laws (www.namsdl.org) provides links to each state’s statutes and regulations regarding PDMPs.

8. Who can access the PDMP information collected?

Each state controls who will have access and for what purpose.

9. Is federal funding available for PDMPs?

The Harold Rogers Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (HRPDMP) is administered by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Assistance, to provide three types of grants: planning, implementation, and enhancement. Since inception of the grant program in FY 2002, grants have been awarded to 47 states and 1 U.S. territory. For FY 2011, HRPDMP funding is approximately $5.6 million. Additional information can be found at www.ojp.usdoj.gov/BJA/grant/prescripdrugs.html

The National All Schedules Prescription Electronic Reporting Act (NASPER), enacted in 2005, created a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services grant program for states to implement or enhance prescription drug monitoring programs. In FY 2009 and FY 2010 NASPER received $2 million to support NASPER grants in 13 states. Information on NASPER can be found at www.samhsa.gov.

States can participate in both funding programs, but requirements and priorities for each program may vary.

10. What is the difference between HRPDMP and NASPER?

The purpose of the HRPDMP is to enhance the capacity of regulatory and law enforcement agencies as well as public health officials to collect and analyze controlled substance prescription data through a centralized database administered by an authorized state agency.

NASPER administers a grant program under the authority of HHS. The intent of the law was to foster the establishment or enhancement of PDMPs that would meet consistent national criteria and have the capacity for the interstate exchange of information.

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