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Study Finds INSPECT System Effective Against Drug Abuse

Researchers studying a system used to track prescription drugs dispensed in Indiana say it’s widely effective for monitoring patient prescription drug use.  Nearly six thousand prescription drug providers were surveyed over the last two years to complete the research.

The current version of the INSPECT system that’s been in place since 2004 is a tool meant to help combat prescription drug abuse.  About 77 percent of survey respondents –including doctors, nurses, dentists and pharmacists, say they know about INSPECT, and 71 percent of those use it. 

Still, lead researcher Eric Wright says only about one-third of providers have changed their prescribing habits in the last year.

“But of those who are changing their behavior, you’re finding that they’re going in the right direction in terms of reducing the number of controlled substances in the population,” Wright says.

He adds there also seems to be a slight disconnect over how providers view the problem. 

According to Wright, about half of providers feel a small group – ten percent or less – of their own patients misuse or abuse prescription drugs.  But more than 80 percent of providers say the percentage of patients in Indiana who abuse prescription drugs is higher than ten percent. And about a third of those say drug abuse exists in more than 40 percent of patients.

“Perhaps they’re doing a good job in managing their own patients or maybe, perhaps we need to help them do a better job of identifying individuals who might be abusing in their practice.”

The Indiana Professional Licensing Agency is implementing an awareness campaign this summer aimed at increasing use of INSPECT.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.