Law and Public Affairs
In recent years, experts have expressed alarm about the growing numbers of deaths related to overprescribing of prescription drugs. The Indiana General Assembly passed legislation in the mid-1990’s that required the collection of controlled substance data through the Central Repository. At its inception, Indiana’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program required licensed pharmacies in Indiana to report on dispensed schedule II controlled substances. In 2004, the act of the legislature along with a grant, “INSPECT” was created and by expanding the reporting requirements to include controlled substance schedules II – V. As of today INSPECT continues to be partially funded through the Harold Rogers grant program, which provides similar funding to other states. Additional funding for INSPECT is provided at the state level, derived from a percentage of controlled substance licensing fees. The repository is assembled only to registered users and available only through a secure website, which is maintained by in-house program staff.
Throughout the past twenty years, citizens and lawmakers have had a vast concern for deaths due to overprescribing of controlled substances and have worked on ways to help combat this issue. INSPECT was designed to address the problem of “prescription drug abuse” and cases of “diversion” in Indiana. By compiling controlled substance information into an online database, INSPECT can perform two critical functions, maintain a warehouse of patient information for health care professionals and provide an important investigative tool for law enforcement. Though INSPECT does not want to limit the ability of doctors to perform their jobs effectively, or it does not intend to violate individual privacy or patient rights. Various security measures have been put in place to prevent abuse and ensure the confidentiality of patient medical records and other privileged information. Patients are known for “Doctor Shopping”, where they hop from doctor to doctor in search for a narcotic/opioid prescription drug from the attending physician. If the attending physician is not connected to “INSPECT”, he or she will not know that the patient may have just left the prior physicians office with the same prescription. This is one of the reasons every twenty-five (25) minutes someone dies from a prescription drug overdose. There has been approximately 560 to 700 Hoosiers who have died every year from overdosing due to prescribed narcotics. This leaves Indiana ranked 16th per capita and in the United States, there is one (1) out of every twenty (20) people who have used prescription painkillers for a non-medical reason. With recent cases against physicians like Paul D. Kelty from Corydon, Indiana or Don and Marilyn Wagoner from Kokomo, Indiana, you will see how not only does it affect the victims, families, but it also affects the counties surrounding the cases. The money and time it takes to prosecute the physicians and the communities affected. What has Indiana done to help combat these issues? In 1994, Indiana created a controlled substance monitoring program called “INstep”, it was housed in the Health Professions Bureau information. During this time, the information was collected for Schedule II substances and available only for law enforcement viewing. During 1999, with the passage of House Bill 1649, the funding and administration of a controlled substance program was moved to the Indiana State Police, with the Controlled Substance Advisory Committee providing guidance and overseeing the operations. In 2001, the passages of House Bill 1808 repealed a decision that could have allowed the central repository to expire. In 2003, House Bill 1438 passage sent the administration of the controlled monitoring program back to the Health Professionals Bureau, while using 16% registration fees for this program