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Perceived Unintended Consequences of Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs. Subst Use Misuse 2019;54(2):345-349



Pubmed ID




Scopus ID

2-s2.0-85057340845 (requires institutional sign-in at Scopus site)   19 Citations


BACKGROUND: Opioid-related injuries and deaths continue to present challenges for public health practitioners. Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs) are a prevalent policy option intended to address problematic opioid pain reliever (OPR) prescribing, but previous research has not thoroughly characterized their unintended consequences.

OBJECTIVES: To examine state actors' perceptions of the unintended consequences of PDMPs.

METHODS: We conducted 37 interviews with PDMP staff, law enforcement officials, and administrative agency employees in Florida, Kentucky, New Jersey, and Ohio from May 2015 to June 2016.

RESULTS: We identified six themes from the interviews. Perceived negative unintended consequences included: access barriers for those with medical needs, heroin use as OPR substitute and related deaths, and need for adequate PDMP security infrastructure and management. Perceived positive unintended consequences were: community formation and problem awareness, proactive population-level OPR monitoring, and increased knowledge about population-level drug diversion. Conclusions/Importance: State actors perceive a range of both negative and positive unintended consequences of PDMPs. Our findings suggest that there may be unintended risks of PDMPs that states should address, but also opportunities to maximize certain benefits.

Author List

Yuanhong Lai A, Smith KC, Vernick JS, Davis CS, Caleb Alexander G, Rutkow L


Carley Davis MD Professor in the Urologic Surgery department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Analgesics, Opioid
Health Services Accessibility
Heroin Dependence
Law Enforcement
New Jersey
Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs
Qualitative Research