The government's newantidrug strategy doesnot include any new programs.The strategy does,however, encourage morestates to create databasesthat can track patientswho get multiple prescriptionsfilled for frequently abuseddrugs such as OxyContin and Vicodin. Theplans will focus on 20 states that do nothave prescription-drug registries andwhose legislatures meet this year.
Prescription-drug registries alreadyexist in 28 states, funded with federal andstate money. The states with drug registriesrequire pharmacists and physiciansto record prescriptions into computer registriesthat health care professionals cantrack. Police also have access to many ofthe registries.
The effects of the existing registries aremurky because the first data analyzingtheir results will not be available until2007. Opponents of the registries haveexpressed concern regarding patients' privacyand the possibility of interferencewith medical care.