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Published June 13, 2012, 10:05 AM

Voluntary use hurts Minnesota drug monitor program

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Supporters of Minnesota's two-year-old prescription drug monitoring program say it's helped detect patients who might be addicted to pain medication, but they worry that not enough doctors are using the voluntary system.

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Supporters of Minnesota's two-year-old prescription drug monitoring program say it's helped detect patients who might be addicted to pain medication, but they worry that not enough doctors are using the voluntary system.

The high-profile overdose death of former Minnesota Wild hockey player Derek Boogaard turned a spotlight on prescription drug abuse and doctor shopping. Supporters of Minnesota's prescription drug database tell Minnesota Public Radio News it likely wouldn't have prevented Boogaard's death but that it has helped doctors identify other patients abusing prescription narcotics.

The program's administrator at the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy says state lawmakers made it voluntary and penalty-free because some doctors didn't want their prescribing patterns tracked. The administrator, Cody Wiberg, says the database would be much more effective if all doctors used it.

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