PMP Blog

The PMP Blog offers updates and resources for providers who use the PMP. The posts include timely information and guidance for effective use of the PMP to improve communication and patient-centered care.

May 2021

Tracking the Trends: Controlled Substance Dispensations in 2020

Without question, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted nearly every facet of life. Preliminary data from Appriss Health, developers of prescription drug monitoring programs nationwide, show how the effects of lockdown policies affected the amount and types of medication dispensed.

When the coronavirus began to spread in the U.S., local jurisdictions enacted lockdown measures to control the spread, and narcotics dispensations across the country dropped in March due to the cancellation of many medical services and procedures. There was a 15% decrease in narcotics dispensations from March to June 2020. However, sedative dispensations increased by 7% at the start of the pandemic, likely due to increased stress and anxiety, according to preliminary data from Appriss Health.

In Texas, controlled substance dispensations have been decreasing since 2018, but 2020 saw the largest downtrend. Texas Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) data showed a 4.7% decrease (compared to 3.6% in 2019 and 3.2% in 2018) in the number of total dispensations of controlled substances in the state. The amount dropped from 38.1 million in 2019 to 36.3 million in 2020.

Meanwhile, overdose deaths have been on the rise nationwide. There were more than 81,000 drug overdose deaths in the United States from June 2019 to May 2020. This is the highest recorded number of overdose deaths compared to any other 12-month period, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

What does this mean for doctors? The PMP gives prescribers a tool to take action in preventing overdose. Real-time PMP data can inform patient conversations, creating an opportunity for a pathway to treatment and better patient health outcomes. The rising rates of overdose make using the PMP more crucial than ever, even with the trend in fewer controlled substance dispensations.

Checking the PMP for every patient every time helps prevent prescription drug misuse and overdose in your community. Thank you for continuing to use the PMP in the fight against the opioid crisis.

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