New state prescription monitoring system starts today - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

New state prescription monitoring system starts today

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YAKIMA, Wash.-- A new monitoring system for prescription drugs starts in Washington today.

Doctors can look up what medications their patients have been prescribed. The state is hoping the new system will help cut down on prescription drug abuse by letting doctors access a database by computer.

It's called the prescription monitoring program, or PMP. It was signed into law in 2007, but it's taken until now for the US Department of Justice to fund it.

The system includes information from pharmacies across the state about what prescriptions patients have. It will show which doctors are giving out medications. Doctors and others prescribers can view these records and make sure they know what the patient is taking before giving them additional medication.

The hope is to find people who are "doctor shopping", getting the same prescription from different doctors. Supporters hope the program will also help doctors prevent patients from accidentally overdosing.