Vital Signs: 10 years of tracking prescription pills

Maine’s prescription monitoring program turns 10 years old this month. Upon its founding in July 2004, Maine envisioned the potential to identify patients who “doctor shop” — visiting multiple medical practices to score narcotics and other drugs — and prevent the diversion and abuse of painkillers.

After a decade of monitoring in Maine, the program still has much to achieve against the drug abuse and pill diversion problem it was established to combat. But a slate of new reforms to the program, along with increased understanding of opiate abuse by government agencies and medical professionals, promise a better future in Maine’s fight against prescription drug abuse.

Part 1: Prescription tracking at 10: Why it still has much to prove, but could be Maine’s best weapon against drug abuse

Part 2: Prescription tracking at 10: Maine police, doctors, lawmakers disagree on more stringent monitoring, even as drug abuse picture improves

Other top health stories this week:

Dozens call on Maine to regulate chemicals found in plastic household products

AUGUSTA, Maine — More than 70 people called on the LePage administration Tuesday to require disclosure of phthalates, a group of chemicals used to soften plastics that studies have linked to serious health problems.

Two Mainers who recently visited Caribbean sickened by chikungunya virus

Chikungunya — pronounced chik-en-GUN-ya — causes fever and joint pain. Other symptoms of the mosquito-borne infection may include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling and rash. While rarely fatal, symptoms from the infection can linger for months and become debilitating.

From our bloggers

Pattie Reaves, After the Couch

Baby Runs makes her world debut

One week after we planned (she takes after her mother’s side of the family), Felicity Jean Reaves was born on Monday, July 21 2014 at 11:27 p.m.

Diane Atwood, Catching Health

Why You Shouldn’t Use Hydrogen Peroxide on a Cut

I know you think the bubbling action is awesome and proof that it’s doing what it was meant to do — killing all the bad stuff.


Compiled by BDN Health Editor Jackie Farwell

Jackie Farwell

About Jackie Farwell

I'm the health editor for the Bangor Daily News, a Bangor native, a UMaine grad, and a weekend crossword warrior. I never get sick of writing about Maine people, geeking out over health care data, and finding new ways to help you stay well. I live in Gorham with my husband Nick and our hound dog Riley.