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Technical Assistance Guide for PDMP Administrators: Standardizing a Process for PDMP Data Requests by Researchers

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 2019
17 pages
This technical assistance guide is intended for administrators of prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) who are interested in developing a standard procedure or process that will enable nongovernment researchers to request certain PDMP data for public health surveillance, research, and evaluation.
The PDMP Training and Technical Assistance Center (TTAC) conducted a review of existing data-request forms, protocols, and data-use agreements (DUAs) from various state agencies, ranging from states' PDMPs to departments of health, public safety, and justice. This technical assistance guide's three main sections describe three areas of information that PDMP administrators should consider in developing a procedure that provides PDMP data for research. The three areas addressed are the initial data request, the data-use agreement, and Institutional Review Board (IRB) certification. The general purpose of the initial data request procedure is to assess the validity and feasibility of the data request. Data-use agreements are typically required after the contingent approval of the data request. The DUA is a legal bonding contract between the PDMP office and the researcher or the researcher's academic institution. The section on the DUA presents a table of common terms and conditions expected of the researcher for use of publicly available data sources of state agencies. An example of a DUA is provided. The section on the Institutional Review Board (IRB) is included because most state agencies require certification of an IRB approval or exemption of a study prior to the release of state data. The primary purpose of an IRB is to protect the rights of human subjects who participate in research, and they also ensure that researchers comply with the ethical and regulatory standards for conducting research. State examples of the various forms discussed are appended.