Georgia has become the latest state to approve a prescription drug monitoring program designed to help stop the abuse of opioid painkillers.
The Lexington-Herald Leader reports that counting Georgia’s law, there are now 35 states with operating monitoring systems. Another 13 have been approved, but are not yet up and running. Only Missouri, New Hampshire and the District of Columbia do not have approved systems, according to the article.
Georgia officials said they hope the prescription monitoring system will be operational by January 2013, if they are able to get grants to fund it.
Florida Governor Rick Scott recently signed into law a bill designed to shut down “pill mills,” pain clinics that cater to people shopping for opioid medications. The legislation includes a drug monitoring database, which allows pharmacists and law enforcement officials to keep track of prescriptions. Drug monitoring databases are designed to prevent “doctor shopping” and to quickly identify doctors who are passing out prescription medication illegally. Private funds are expected to cover the Florida database’s set up costs and the first 18 months of operation.