Prescription Monitoring Program

LFDA Editor

SB 286, proposed in January 2012 by Wolfeboro Republican Sen. Jeb Bradley, was signed by Gov. Lynch June 11, 2012.  The bill established a controlled drug prescription monitoring program funded entirely through "grants, gifts, or user contributions." The program officially launched October 16, 2014.

Prescription drug abuse has become the front line for the "war on drugs" in New Hampshire. HB 1636, a 2010 measure to stop people from "doctor shopping" in the hunt for addictive prescription drugs, noted that "New Hampshire has seen a 200 percent increase in deaths in the last 10 years from these drugs, primarily Methadone, with prescription drug abuse being the fastest growing form of substance abuse."

Earlier efforts to create an electronic tracking system in New Hampshire failed in 2005, 2007, and 2010, leaving the Granite State as the only state in New England without the ability to track these drugs.

Assistant Attorney General Philip Bradley told Foster's Daily Democrat: "No one is really able to intervene early now because they don't have that information. A prescription monitoring program lets a doctor know that patient is getting their drugs elsewhere and the prescription he's about to write may be a few too many."

In addition to health providers, the original legislation also allowed access by law enforcement to prescription information.

The law enforcement factor, in addition to the cost -- estimated at $2.2 to $3.5 million -- caused concern during committee hearings on the measure.

"It needs to be more of a public health tool than a law enforcement tool," Bradley said to Foster's.

The final version of SB 286 passed in 2012 still allows for law enforcement access to the information, although only on a case-by-case basis.  Additionally, patient information will be deleted from the database every six months, with the exception of information about patients suspected to be abusing drugs.

The cost issue was addressed in the bill as follows: "All costs incurred by the board for the implementation and operation of the program shall be supported through grants, gifts, or user contributions."  In the event that there is not enough funding for the program, the bill allows the pharmacy board to "curtail, temporarily suspend, or cancel the program."

In September 2013 the state Board of Pharmacy received a $400,000 federal grant to build the prescription monitoring database and operate the program for two years.  The prescription monitoring program officially launched October 16, 2014.  As of now, there is now plan for funding the program after two years, although an advisory council is considering fee structures for medical providers and/or pharmaceutical manufacturers.


Killed in the House

Gives law enforcement more access to the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program database.

Signed by Governor

Makes various changes to the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, such as requiring opioid agreements between prescribers and patients if the patient is using opioids for more than 90 days.

Passed House and Senate

Requires the Board of Medicine, the Board of Dental examiners, the Board of Nursing, the Board of Registration in Optometry, the Board of Podiatry, the Naturopathic Board of Examiners, and the Board of Veterinary Medicine to adopt rules for prescribing controlled drugs, and requires the use of the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program database.

Signed by Governor

This bill includes many regulations aimed at combating heroin and prescription drug abuse. For example, this bill increases the penalties for abusing fentanyl and provides funding for an upgrade to the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program.

Conference Committee

Appropriates $130,000 for technology upgrades to the controlled drug prescription health and safety program to support mandatory use and enhanced reporting and information gathering. The House amended the bill to also limit the ability of law enforcement to seize assets in criminal cases.

Conference Committee

Makes various changes to the controlled drug prescription health and safety program, such as requiring an agreement between a patient and a physician for any patient prescribed opioids for more than ninety days.

Conference Committee

As originally written, this bill included various measures related to drug addiction, such as adding fentanyl to drug laws. The Senate amended the bill to instead revise the Governor's Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery and make additional appropriations for drug abuse prevention, treatment, and enforcement.

Signed by Governor

Increases access to overdose-reversing drugs such as Narcan by allowing doctors to pescribe to friends, family members of addicts.

Senate Nonconcurred with the House

Requires an injured worker and his or her health care provider to enter into an opioid treatment agreement outlining the procedures for opioid use under workers’ compensation.

Killed in the House

Establishes a committee to study opioid misuse.

Killed in the House

Requires pharmacies, hospitals, and prescribers to accept unused prescription drugs.

Signed by Governor

Establishes a prescription drug monitoring program funded entirely through "grants, gifts, or user contributions."

Killed in the House

Establishes a prescription drug monitoring program, using public funds.

Should NH continue the Prescription Monitoring Program?


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BrianDunn's picture
Brian Dunn
- Henniker

Fri, 12/12/2014 - 9:27pm

Drug abuse has always been a problem, and will always continue to be a problem. Rather then continue to persecute the drug abusers and accomplish nothing we need to address the much larger problem. This is the doctors themselves who are issuing out all of the prescription pills. It is completely irresponsible. I knew a girl from college who needed to enter rehab as a young adult. At the time she was on 12 different legal prescriptions from different doctors. Prescriptions ranging from depression, anxiety, ADHD, schizophrenia, etc. The real problem here is that none of the doctors coordinate with one another, and there is no records available to doctors from other doctors to connect all of the dots. She could go to one doctor, get a prescription for something. Go to a second doctor and get another prescription, go to a third doctor and get another. So on and so forth. I know other people who developed a problem for the exact same reasons. We need to begin holding these doctors more accountable for the prescriptions that they are writing and create a system where every doctor and every prescription is known and recorded to all. We can do this with banks and credit scores but not with doctors and health care? This is unacceptable. Only until we address the problems with the doctors prescribing all of these pills we we begin to solve the problem with prescription drug abuse.


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Issue Status

Gov. Hassan has already signed two bills to expand the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program in 2016, SB 447 and SB 576.

The legislature will consider several other related bills in 2016.  See the "Legislative History" of this page for more information.


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