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Prescription drug monitoring awarded $2 million

Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) secretary-designee Dawn Crim, has announced the Wisconsin Enhanced Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (ePDMP) will receive almost $3 million from a competitive U.S. Department of Justice grant program.

The ePDMP is an award-winning tool that promotes responsible opioid prescribing and generates state-wide prescribing data. Hospitalizations for opioid overdoses are up this year, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, and experts believe COVID-related isolation and stress are at least partly to blame.

The award was announced by the Harold Rogers Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, part of the Bureau of Justice Assistance. The DSPS, which developed the ePDMP with the Wisconsin Controlled Substances Board (CSB) and continues to operate it, will use the funding for overall infrastructure enhancements that will increase security, user satisfaction and adoption.

Healthcare providers, including physicians, dentists and some advanced practice nurses, consult the ePDMP for realtime patient prescription history when making prescribing decisions about opioids, benzodiazepines and stimulants. The ePDMP also aggregates its prescription and dispensing information on its dashboard, and to generate county and state-level trend reports, that assist healthcare and law enforcement agencies in their work to combat the opioid crisis.

“Our efforts to curb opioid use remain critically important and the ePDMP is still an invaluable tool,” said Crim. “I am grateful for the grant funding that will keep it current and accessible.”

In addition to its role with the ePDMP, the CSB also holds an annual law enforcement hearing. Members of the law enforcement community are invited to deliver testimony about drug activity in their communities, so that the CSB can consider whether to schedule new substances.

The first-hand testimony from what is happening in all parts of the state, is critical to efforts to curb illegal drug activity, as some drug arrests cannot be prosecuted when they involve dangerous, but unscheduled substances. Scheduling substances also helps raise awareness among emergency responders, so that they can administer appropriate countermeasures.

The 2020 hearing is Friday, Nov. 13, at 9:30 a.m.