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Call to Action and Issue Brief: Justice System Use of Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs - Addressing the Nation's Prescription Drug and Opioid Abuse Epidemic

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2015
20 pages
Publication Series
Publication Type
Report (Technical Assistance), Program/Project Description

This "Call to Action and Issue Brief" explores topics related to the justice system's use of prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs).


This brief notes that prescription drug misuse, abuse, and diversion continue to have a devastating effect on communities throughout the Nation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has described it as a "deadly epidemic of prescription pain killer abuse" that affects communities in every State. The brief focuses on State PDMPs, which are viewed as a valuable tool in the justice system's fight against the abuse, misuse, and diversion of prescription drugs. The nature and purpose of PDMPs are first outlined, followed by a highlighting of the value of PDMP data to law enforcement, probation and parole practitioners, and court personnel. The brief also underscores the importance of public health and public safety community partnerships and outlines practices for effectively using PDMP data for criminal justice purposes. In addition, it provides information on resources, promising practices, and examples of implementation, so as to foster the replication of effective PDMPs. The brief concludes with recommendations and a discussion of call-to-action issues as well as next steps in addressing the Nation's opioid epidemic.

Date Created: December 26, 2019