Use of the Ohio system used to monitor the number of prescriptions of controlled medications is reported to have reached record levels. 

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy Executive Director Steven Schierholt and U.S. Drug Czar Jim Carroll, Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy announced the Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System (OARRS) success Friday.

OARRS is operated by the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy and allows doctors and pharmacists to view a patient's prescription history on controlled substances to help them possible detect prescription drug abuse or diversion so they can intervene with high-risk patients.

OARRS use surpassed one million daily queries on two separate occasions recently, aligning with data from the American Medical Association that ranks it as the most utilized prescription drug monitoring program in the country.

"As the use of OARRS has increased, Ohio has not only seen a significant decrease in the number of individuals who 'doctor shop' by visiting multiple prescribers to obtain multiple prescriptions, but this system has also empowered doctors and pharmacists to be a part of Ohio's efforts to prevent addiction," said Governor DeWine. "Although it is impossible to know how many lives were saved thanks to the use of the OARRS system, we do know that it has become an indispensable tool in Ohio's work to help those suffering from addiction."

The State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy also reports that the number of individuals engaged in doctor shopping decreased 89 percent from 2011 to 2018, and the number of opioid prescriptions decreased 4.6 million from 2012 to 2018.

Carroll, President Trump's chief advisor on drug policy, who is in Ohio to learn more about Governor DeWine's RecoveryOhio initiative, praised today's announcement.

The RecoveryOhio initiative works to enhance mental health and substance use recovery, treatment, and prevention efforts throughout the state.

"Communities big and small across Ohio have been particularly hard hit by our nation's drug crisis. As part of the Trump Administration's whole-of-government approach, we're partnering with true leaders like Governor DeWine to educate kids about the dangers of substance use, get more help to people struggling with an addiction, and reduce the availability of these deadly drugs. Because of our shared commitment to this issue, we've begun to see progress in saving more of our family members, friends, and neighbors both in Ohio and nationwide," Carroll said. "It was great to be with Governor DeWine in the Buckeye State today to see the incredible efforts happening on the ground that are helping to build on this momentum. Our partnership with the governor is an example of how the federal government can work together with state and local communities to be successful in achieving our ultimate goal of saving lives."  

Ohio became the first state in the country to offer direct integration of its prescription drug monitoring program into electronic health records and pharmacy dispensing systems at no cost in 2016.

Governor DeWine reports that the integration is a significant factor in contributing to Ohio's record levels of OARRS use as it allows 43,000 prescribers and pharmacists to access their patients' OARRS reports as part of their regular workflow.

"Instead of logging into a separate system, OARRS integration allows Ohio's healthcare providers to instantly access a patient's controlled substance history with the click of a button," Director Schierholt said.  "This gives prescribers and pharmacists more time to devote to patient care, including intervening with patients who may be misusing or abusing controlled substance medications."

Overall, OARRS use currently averages approximately 834,000-weekday patient queries, compared to around 65,000-weekday patient queries in 2015.

The State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy anticipates that by 2020, average weekday patient queries will surpass a million per day.

Ohio's OARRS integration was established through a partnership with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.