Why Monitor Prescription Drug Usage?

indexWhy Test?

Why Monitor Prescription Drug Usage? According to several national surveys, prescription medications, such as those used to treat pain, attention deficit disorders, and anxiety, are being abused at a rate second only to marijuana. The consequences of this abuse have been steadily worsening, reflected in increased treatment admissions, emergency room visits, and overdose deaths.

lab imagesONDCP’s Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Plan

The 2011 Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Plan expands upon the Obama Administration’s National Drug Control Strategy and includes action in four major areas to reduce drug abuse:

  • Education.
    A crucial first step in tackling the problem of prescription drug abuse is to educate parents, youth, and patients about the dangers of abusing prescription drugs, while requiring prescribers to receive education on the appropriate and safe use, and proper storage and disposal of prescription drugs.
  • Monitoring. Implementation prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) in every state to reduce “doctor shopping” and diversion, and enhance PDMPs to make sure they can share data across states and are used by healthcare providers.
  • Proper Medication Disposal. Develop convenient and environmentally responsible prescription drug disposal programs to help decrease the supply of unused prescription drugs in the home.
  • Enforcement. Provide law enforcement with the tools necessary to eliminate improper prescribing practices and stop pill mills.

labCan you tell if your patient is taking their medication properly?

Drug testing is the only way to ensure that your patient is properly taking their medication. In some cases you will find that they may be taking other medications you were not aware of. This will provide valuable insight into how you decide to treat your patient.

There are many reasons why pain patients may not be taking their medication as prescribed:

  • Due to fear of addiction.
  • Compulsive use because of addiction.
  • Misuse of medication.
  • Diversion.


  1. (2011, October). Retrieved November 2012, from NIDA: National Institute on Drug Abuse: http://www.drugabuse.gov/sites/default/files/rrprescription.pdf
  2. Popul Health Manag. 2009 Aug;12(4):185-90. doi: 10.1089/pop.2009.0015
  3. http://www.whitehouse.gov/ondcp/prescription-drug-abuse