The White House will prod states to set up databases that can track people who get multiple prescriptions of frequently abused prescription drugs such as OxyContin and Vicodin, reports USA Today. The strategy, to be announced in Denver today by drug czar John Walters, does not include any new programs, a reflection of a tight federal budget. Twenty-eight states have passed laws to set up prescription-drug registries, funded with a mix of federal and state money. President Bush’s proposed budget for fiscal 2007 includes $9.9 million to help establish registries in more states, up from $7.4 million this year.
Walters is focusing on 20 states that do not have prescription-drug registries and whose legislatures meet this year, plus Washington, D.C. Among the states likely to consider new registries are Florida, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Vermont, and Washington. The registries face opposition from critics who have expressed concern about patients’ privacy and the potential for interference in medical care.