Kroger Pharmacies and Harris Teeter Pharmacies across North Carolina have joined the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services in the fight against prescription drug misuse by integrating pharmacy data sharing information into their workflow.
In January, North Carolina’s Controlled Substances Reporting System (CSRS) joined the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy’s data sharing network, PMP InterConnect, to help reduce prescription drug misuse.
This network allows doctors and other clinicians to obtain multi-state information about their patients’ opioid prescriptions. The 45-state prescription monitoring network processes more than 15 million transactions of prescription data per month.
Kroger and Harris Teeter utilize this in more than 1,300 stores across 18 states. They are the first pharmacy chains to implement this into their regular workflow, a step that occurs before dispensing to reduce the potential to dispense unwarranted controlled substance prescriptions.
“We are pleased to take the lead on this, to give back and to promote healthy lifestyles in the communities that we serve,” said Allison McGee, Kroger Corporate Affairs Manager for the Mid-Atlantic Division. “Our participation will not only enhance patient safety, but create a more uniform standard of care across our enterprise.”
CSRS collects controlled substance prescriptions data within 24 hours of being dispensed and makes this information available to prescribers and dispensers. The system is used as a clinical tool to improve patient care and safety while avoiding potential drug interactions and identifying individuals who need referral to substance use disorder treatment.
“With the opioid crisis that our state and nation are facing, this is an important and exciting tool that our pharmacists can now use to instantly access the prescription drug monitoring program data and ultimately help deter prescription drug abuse,” said DHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen, M.D. “Our thanks to The Kroger Co. and to Harris Teeter for joining this potentially life-saving effort at no cost to the state.”
North Carolina now has two-way sharing of prescription information with Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Idaho, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Mexico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. The state continues efforts to achieve full integration to the 45-state network.
Opioid overdoses have been on the rise in North Carolina and across the nation in recent years. DHHS data show more than 12,000 North Carolinians have died from opioid overdoses since 1999. In 2016, opioid related deaths were up by more than 30 percent from the previous year. Since 1999, North Carolina has seen a 1,000 percent increase in the number of opioid-related deaths.
The CSRS is operated by DHHS, and prescribers can register to use the system at www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/mhddsas/ncdcu/csrs#csrs1. For additional information about efforts to combat North Carolina’s opioid crisis, visit: www.ncdhhs.gov/opioids.