The Effect of Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs on Opioid Prescriptions and Heroin Crime Rates

59 Pages Posted: 11 Oct 2017 Last revised: 23 Sep 2018

See all articles by Justine Mallatt

Justine Mallatt

Bureau of Economic Analysis, Office of the Chief Economist

Date Written: September 13, 2018

Abstract

In response to growing abuse of prescription opioid painkillers, 50 U.S. states have implemented electronic prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) that record patients into a state-wide registry when a prescription opioid is received. This paper uses a difference-in-differences regression framework and interactive fixed effects factor models to identify the effect of PDMPs and two related programs on the types and strengths of opioid painkiller prescriptions filled and on rates of heroin crimes. The implementation of PDMP databases caused an 10% decrease in the amount of oxycodone shipments, with results from Medicaid prescription data pointing to larger decreases within high dosage pills. PDMPs have heterogeneous effects on heroin crime incidents across counties depending on the county's pre-policy level of prescription opioid milligrams per capita, with an 49-89% increase in heroin crime within the most opioid-dense counties, depending on model specification.

Keywords: opioid, opioid crisis, PDMP, prescription drugs, heroin, Medicaid, pill mill, pill mill bill, must-access PDMP, prescription drug monitoring programs, prescription monitoring programs, opioid abuse, heroin abuse, drug abuse, heroin overdose, overdose, opioid overdose, crime, crime rate, drug crime

JEL Classification: I18, H12, H75, K14, I12

Suggested Citation

Mallatt, Justine, The Effect of Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs on Opioid Prescriptions and Heroin Crime Rates (September 13, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3050692 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3050692

Justine Mallatt (Contact Author)

Bureau of Economic Analysis, Office of the Chief Economist ( email )

1441 L Street NW
Washington, DC 20910
United States

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