U of Texas Study: Has Prescription Monitoring Curbed the Opioid Epidemic?

The researchers constructed a national data set that included detailed information on opioid prescribing and incidences of prescription opioid and heroin deaths from all U.S. states between 2006 and 2015.

The analysis found that implementing PDMP decreased opioid prescriptions 6.1%.

Despite the reduction, though, the researchers determined the policy did not reduce deaths due to prescription opioids. Additionally, heroin-related deaths increased 50.1% under PDMP mandates.

Kim speculates that placing supply restrictions on prescription opioids might have led patients to seek out dangerous and illegal alternatives.


Here is a link to the full study: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/share/8J25M6ZAXE6TUAPMTAAT?target=10.1111/poms.13802


In measuring overdose deaths, Kim and team found that the policy was effective. Opioid prescriptions decreased by 6.1% during this time, but heroin-related deaths increased more than 50%, which suggests that the policy unintentionally caused greater substitution, according to the study authors.

“Past research has shown that when facing restricted access to addictive substances, individuals simply seek out alternatives rather than limiting consumption,” Kim said in the press release.