Lawmakers join together to introduce bipartisan bill to require the use of prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) in all states that receive certain federal funding to combat opioid abuse and also require states to make their PDMP data available to other states


WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Rob Portman (R-OH) introduced legislation to require the use of prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) in all states that received certain federal funding to combat opioid abuse and also require states to make their PDMP data available to other states. Klobuchar and Portman were two of four senators, along with Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and former Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), to lead the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA). This bipartisan legislation, which was signed into law last July, encourages states and local communities to pursue a full array of proven strategies in the fight against opioid addiction. At the end of 2016, $1 billion was made available by Congress to fund the national effort.

“As a former prosecutor, I have witnessed firsthand the devastation caused by opioid abuse in communities across the country,” said Klobuchar. “Our bipartisan legislation would require states to have prescription drug monitoring programs that use best practices, curbing the kind of doctor shopping that facilitates addiction. Last year, I heard about a patient who filled 108 prescriptions for painkillers from more than 85 different prescribers located in 50 cities. We know that opioid addiction too often begins with the abuse of legal prescription painkillers. And with this bill, we can do something about that.”

“Four out of five heroin addicts in Ohio and across the country started with prescription painkillers. Too many of these people were prescribed a painkiller by their doctor and became addicted or tried a drug prescribed to someone else,” Portman said. “In 2012, there were more opioid prescriptions in Ohio than there were Ohioans, and during just one three-month period, 11 percent of Ohioans were prescribed an opioid painkiller. Since then we’ve made progress in stopping overprescribing, but the consequences of addiction have only gotten worse. This legislation would help Ohio continue to make progress against overprescribing by keeping better track of prescriptions and ensuring that addiction is discovered and treated as early as possible.”

"We applaud Senators Klobuchar and Portman for introducing this important legislation to strengthen PDMPs, which are a critical tool in the continuing effort to stop the flood of prescription opioids and prevent overdoses," said Nick Motu, Vice President of the Hazelden Betty Ford Institute for Recovery Advocacy. “Their bill is a crucial next step in the fight to end the opioid epidemic and will ultimately save lives.”

The Prescription Drug Monitoring Act would:

· Require drug dispensers in covered states to report to the PDMP each opioid prescription that they dispense to patients within 24 hours.

· Require practitioners in covered states to consult the PDMP before prescribing opioids to patients.

· Require states to actively notify practitioners when the PDMP shows that a patient exhibits patterns indicative of opioid misuse.

To ensure that PDMP data is available across state lines, the bill would also provide for the creation of an inter-state PDMP data-sharing platform and require all covered states to make their individual PDMP data available on this platform.

As a former Hennepin County Attorney, Klobuchar has long led local and national efforts to curb drug abuse and help people overcome addiction. Earlier this year, she joined with Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) and other senators to introduce the Budgeting for Opioid Addiction Treatment (LifeBOAT) Act, which would establish a reliable funding stream to provide and expand access to substance abuse treatment. She and a bipartisan group of senators introduced the Synthetic and Labeling of Toxic Substances (SALTS) Act to make it easier to prosecute the sale of “analogue” drugs, which are synthetic substances that are substantially similar to illegal drugs. The Synthetics Trafficking & Overdose Prevention (STOP) Act that she introduced with Portman would help close a loophole in the U.S. postal system to stop dangerous synthetic drugs like fentanyl and carfentanil from being shipped through our borders to drug traffickers in the U.S. In September 2014, the DEA implemented Klobuchar’s bipartisan Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act. Under the legislation, consumers are provided with more safe and responsible ways to dispose of unused prescription medications and controlled substances.