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Information about Maryland's prescription drug monitoring program

Any Maryland resident who has suffered a serious illness or injury knows that pain can be a part of these conditions. If the pain is debilitating enough, doctors may need to prescribe powerful drugs to treat this pain that may fall under the title of controlled dangerous substances. Whenever these drugs are legally prescribed in the state, Maryland's Prescription Drug Monitoring Program is also activated. Here are some basic facts about this state program.

The PDMP is part of Maryland's strategy to cut down on prescription drug crimes and abuse. The program creates a record about the prescribing and dispensing of legal drugs that contain narcotics that fall under the state's schedule of controlled substances. These include pain relievers like Oxycodone, hydrocodone and even anti-anxiety drugs such as Xanax.

Whenever a legally prescribed Schedule II to V controlled substance is given out in the state, the dispenser must report certain information to the PDMP. This information includes the name of the drug that was dispensed, the name, address, date of birth and ID number of the person who was prescribed the drug as well as information about the prescriber and dispenser. This information must be submitted to the PDMP within three business days.

Once the record has been created, the information remains in the PDMP database and is completely confidential. However, Maryland law states that certain individuals and organizations can ask for specific data from the database. These include prescribers such as doctors, pharmacists, law enforcement agencies, state agencies and licensing boards. A patient who has been prescribed these drugs can also ask for a copy of their own prescription history.

Prescription drug crimes can result in charges that have significant prison and monetary penalties. Any Maryland resident who is facing drug charges may want to speak to a criminal defense attorney in order to fully understand the consequences of these charges.

Source: bha.dhmh.maryland.gov, "PDMP frequently asked questions", Accessed Oct. 15, 2015

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