RI Achieves 100% Enrollment in Prescription Drug Monitoring Program


Providence – Key target met in Raimondo’s overdose prevention action plan
One hundred percent of healthcare providers who are authorized to prescribe opioids
and other potent medications are now enrolled in the state’s prescription drug
monitoring database, marking an important step in Rhode Island’s work to prevent
overdose deaths, the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) announced today.

Known as the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP), this statewide database
allows healthcare providers to see what controlled-substance prescriptions are being
filled for their patients. In addition to preventing over-prescribing, the PDMP
helps prevent drug diversion and unsafe combinations of prescribed medications.
Increasing enrollment in and utilization of the database is a key target in Governor
Gina M. Raimondo’s overdose action plan, which aims to reduce overdose deaths by a
third within three years.

“To save lives from drug overdose, we have to support safer prescribing practices,”
said Raimondo. “Achieving 100% enrollment in our Prescription Drug Monitoring
Program is an important milestone, and we will continue to set the bar high to
ensure that providers on the frontlines of Rhode Island’s overdose crisis are
actively using the system to keep their patients safe.”

In addition to prescribers, the PDMP is used by pharmacists when filling
prescriptions. Legislation from 2014 requires all prescribers of controlled
substances to register for the PDMP; however, before RIDOH initiated a PDMP
Education, Notification, and Enforcement Plan
in January 2016, only approximately 40% of prescribers had done so. Through
increased training and staff visits to practices, RIDOH helped boost enrollment to

“The Prescription Drug Monitoring Program is an indispensable tool in the fight
against the epidemic of overdose in Rhode Island,” said Director of Health and
Overdose Task Force Co-Chair Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH. “It helps to prevent
over-prescribing and promotes better coordination among healthcare providers
throughout the state to ensure that patients with chronic health needs continue to
get the treatment they need in a way that is as safe as possible.”

In addition to ensuring all eligible users are enrolled in the PDMP, RIDOH is
working to enhance the tool to make it easier for users to integrate it into their
current practice and support better patient care. Rhode Island’s PDMP is now
connected to similar databases in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and seven other
states, and prescribers will soon automatically be notified about potentially risky
prescribing behaviors by any prescriber treating their patients. RIDOH is also
working with practices to help connect the PDMP to patients’ electronic health

RIDOH is now focusing efforts on increasing utilization of the PDMP to ensure
compliance with 2016 legislation that requires prescribers to check the PDMP before
initiating an opioid prescription and every three months while the patient is
prescribed opioids. Only 24% of prescribers are currently running patient reports in
the PDMP. To increase utilization, RIDOH is visiting the offices of prescribers with
the highest prescribing rates to educate them on the new legislation and the value
of the PDMP. RIDOH has also developed a customized prescriber profile that compares
providers’ prescribing patterns to state averages, demonstrates PDMP utilization
rates, and indicates when patients have been to five different prescribers and/or
five different pharmacists in a six-month period, an indication of possible drug

At least 171 people have died of drug overdoses in 2016. In 2015, 258 Rhode
Islanders died of drug overdoses.