New System Designed To Prevent Prescription Abuse

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The director of the Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services announced a project Thursday designed to prevent narcotic painkiller abuse and diversion.

"If you look at what's transpired in Ohio over the span of the last 15 years from 1997 to 2010, there was about a tenfold increase in the use of prescription opiates in our healthcare system," Director Orman Hall said. "We've also seen a precipitous increase in the number of people dying from opiate overdoses. There's been about a 400-percent increase in the number of opiate overdoses."

The new Biometric Enrollment and Verification Prescription System pilot project is a partnership between ODADAS, CrossChx and Holzer Health System.

It introduces new technology to the fight against prescription drug abuse, allowing prescribers to receive real-time patient information after providing fingerprint and photo identification.

This helps detect fraud by collecting information from a number of sources and determining eligibility for a prescription medication.

Sean Lane, Chairman of the Board of CrossChx, came up with the idea and submitted it to the Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services.

He says the use of fingerprints simplifies the enrollment process and will be the primary means of identification.

The prints are stored with binary identifying information rather than with personal information such as names, which may be misspelled or duplicate.

Issuing an identification number leaves little room for error in detecting prescription fraud and increases patients' privacy.

The project will also help provide health record information to study behaviors, patterns and demographics for analysis of drug diversion and fraud attempts.