A prescription drug monitoring program in Kansas will receive a federal grant worth more than $736,000 to expand.
The Kansas Board of Pharmacy oversees K-TRACS, a system for monitoring prescriptions for controlled substances.
Doctors, dentists and pharmacists who participate in the program report their prescription activity to the state so a patient’s history can be verified.
The pharmacy board will use the grant to hire a special investigator who will use K-TRACS data to identify suspicious and harmful prescribing patterns. The agency will also develop a public awareness campaign and conduct an audit.
K-TRACS began in 2011 to help address prescription drug and opioid misuse.
"Kansans and all Americans need to understand that opioid addiction is a national public health emergency," Stephen McAllister, U.S. Attorney for the District of Kansas, said in a news release. "Tens of thousands of people every year are disappearing into a whirlpool of addiction, bankruptcy, divorce and death."
The $736,313 grant comes from the Department of Justice.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 72,000 Americans died last year from drug overdoses.
The state pharmacy board is in the process of integrating K-TRACS data with all electronic medical and health record systems in the state. The integration is expected to be completed by August 2019. The project is funded by a $1.5 million CDC grant to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.