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Gennaro Vito and George Higgins

submitted by Gennaro Vito and George Higgins

IPOP Researchers Receive Justice Department Grant to Study Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs

Researchers from the UK College of Pharmacy’s Institute for Pharmacy Outcomes and Policy (IPOP) received a two-year, $363,000 grant from the National Institute of Justice to study prescription drug monitoring programs.

Faculty members Karen Blumenschein, Trish Freeman and Jeff Talbert are collaborating with co-investigators Gennaro Vito and George Higgins from the University of Louisville Department of Justice Administration on the project, which is entitled “Optimizing Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs to Support Law Enforcement Activity.”

The research project will evaluate the features and practices of prescription drug monitoring programs and identify those that have the greatest utility for law enforcement investigations and prosecutions.

As part of the research, data will be collected and analyzed from seven state prescription drug monitoring programs. Results from the project are expected to have an important impact, as they will provide evidence-based information on the best practices of prescription drug monitoring programs to support law enforcement activities and provide a contextual framework for future policy and program improvements designed to mitigate the crisis of prescription drug abuse, trafficking and diversion.

Vito and Higgins are responsible for the conduct of focus groups with narcotics officers and prosecutors in the states under analysis. The focus groups will be conducted to determine how the officers and prosecutors make use of the prescription drug monitoring programs to investigate and prosecute drug cases. All of the responses will be anonymous (in that names and positions will be never be listed) and confidential.