School of Nursing


Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)


Lynne Shurbet Sanders


Prescription Opioid Misuse, Opioid Dependence, Overdose Deaths, Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP), Safe Prescribing Practices




Opioid misuse relating to prescription pain killers have claimed the lives of many Americans, posing an escalating nationwide public health crisis. Prescription opioid overdose and death can impair an individual’s functionality, destabilizes family, and impose a significant financial burden. In 2014, the U.S. had an estimated 36 million people ages 12 years and older who had used prescription opioids for non-medical reasons. In that same year, there were “28,647” (61%) of 47,055 prescription and non-prescription opioid overdose deaths, indicating an increase from previous years (Center for Disease Control (CDC, 2020). Several measures to address the opioid crisis have been implemented, but opioid overdose remains a problem. This integrative review explored diverse relevant literature addressing the opioid epidemic, focusing on the prescription drug monitoring program (PDMD), as having the potential to address this epidemic through the increased reporting of data. The PDMP is a national database that stores data from pharmacies and prescribers on controlled substances dispensed to patients, to safeguard opioid prescribing practice. Clinicians can use PDMPs to identify patients exhibiting risky behaviors indicating prescription drug addiction, overdose risk or diversion, and potential doctor shopping (Hawk et al., 2018). Vital data obtained from the PDMP must be reported to the health insurance companies, state licensing boards, law enforcement, local health departments, treatment centers, and other relevant entities to facilitate early interventions, and allocation of resources for quality care.

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