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Prescription drug monitoring program to link to other states

Priscription drug monitoring program expands.

Doctors and others who use a state-authorized database to track patients' use of prescription drugs will now be able to see if those patients are getting other scripts in neighboring states.

The prescription drug monitoring program was created by state law in 2011 in an effort to curb so-called doctor shopping for opioids and other controlled dangerous substances, and was heralded by state leaders as a major tool in an overdose epidemic that has gripped the nation.

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But the program was limited to only to prescriptions filled in Maryland. Officials said doctors, pharmacists and other medical professionals will first be able to see data from Virginia and eventually from other states.

"The expansion of [the program's] data access to other states' information will strengthen providers' ability to identify patients whose prescription drug use presents a serious risk of addiction or overdose," said Van T. Mitchell, secretary of the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, which oversees the program.

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The state program is run by the Chesapeake Regional Information System for our Patients, or CRISP, a health information exchange serving Maryland and the District of Columbia. Clinicians can access an assortment of patient information across medical facilities within the state through the system.

The out-of-state data will come through an interstate data-sharing hub hosted by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy.

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