Analyzing the impact of prescription drug monitoring programs in reducing the epidemic of drug abuse

The Foundation's program, Public Health Law Research: Making the Case for Laws That Improve Health, was designed to build the evidence for public health law and policy, translate research findings into practical tools to increase the support for and use of law by policy makers and public health practitioners, and to translate findings to other fields and venues to improve and protect health.This research will critically appraise the role of Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs) in reducing epidemic rates of prescription drug abuse. Their analyses build upon the linkage of unusually granular, all-payer pharmacy data with unique data regarding PDMP laws generated through the Public Health Law Research (PHLR) portfolio (LawAtlas). These projects will allow rigorous epidemiologic and statistical methods to be applied to: (1) develop measures and conduct detailed investigations of the interrelationships between patients, prescribers, and pharmacies where high-risk behaviors are observed; (2) quantify how PDMP laws impact a variety of these measures; and (3) evaluate whether specific features of states' PDMP laws are responsible for any impact observed. For Aim 1, they will use pharmacoepidemiologic methods to describe patterns of opioid prescribing (prescribers), dispensing (pharmacies) and utilization (patients), and to identify patients where higher risk use may be more likely. For Aims 2 and 3, they will link an existing LawAtlas legal data set with pharmacy claims and use multilevel comparative time series models to quantify the effect of PDMPs on unique measures of opioid prescribing, dispensing and utilization. This study will assess to what degree, through the creation of PDMPs, law has the capacity to influence prescription drug prescribing, dispensing, and utilization. Because PDMP laws are dynamic, this work should be highly relevant to federal and state policymakers working to refine PDMPs' structure and function with little evidence about the programs' effects. The study will produce new knowledge about the epidemiology of prescription drug abuse and the role PDMPs can play in addressing this public health epidemic.Deliverables will include sharing the study's findings with key audiences in the policymaking and practice communities (e.g., state and federal policymakers; health department leadership; state-based PDMPs; public health lawyers; public health researchers), and the public health community through peer-reviewed scholarly publications. Translational materials such as policy briefs and fact sheets will also be created for non-research oriented audiences, including the broader practice and policymaking communities (e.g., Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Department of Justice; Office of National Drug Control Policy). Any deliverable that includes a recommendation regarding specific legislation and is reasonably expected to be distributed to policymakers must meet the standards of a nonpartisan research, study or analysis.

Grant Details

Amount Awarded $149,968.00

Awarded on: 12/2/2013

Time frame: 12/1/2013 - 5/31/2015

Grant Number: 71520


Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health

615 North Wolfe Street
Baltimore, 21205-2103


G. Caleb Alexander
Project Director