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Michigan Launches New Prescription Drug Monitoring Program

Cheyna Roth

Michigan is updating what state officials call a useful tool for fighting the opioid epidemic.  The problematic state drug monitoring programhas gotten a significant facelift.  The system is used primarily by law enforcement and doctors to flag potential prescription drug abuse and better treat patients.  

Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley chaired the task force that recommended the system update. He said tracking medications is an important tool for doctors, especially when it comes to potential opioid abuse by a patient.  

“The system here doesn’t make decisions for doctors,” he said.  “The decision does not say when it is appropriate for a doctor to prescribe or not to prescribe. It simply is aimed at ensuring that the doctor has all of the information that they need in order to make the best decision.”

The old tracking system was not very fast and plagued by problems.  Kim Gaedeke is the state director of professional licensing.  She said not only is the new system faster, it’s also a lot more user friendly.

“I actually learned how to config. the system,” she said.  “So, I’m not technical at all, and I know how to go in there and configure the system if need be or go in and correct anything within the system.”

Gaedeke said they received a call from one doctor. He was concerned the system was broken because it was working so fast, Gaedeke said.  Health care professionals are not currently required to use the system, but Calley says they hope lawmakers make it a requirement once they prove the new system works. 

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—Cheyna Roth is a reporter for the Michigan Public Radio network.  Contact WEMU News at734.487.3363 or email us at studio@wemu.org

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