Mapping Prescription Drug Monitoring Program Enrollment and Use

State-by-state data show prescriber utilization patterns 

Mapping Prescription Drug Monitoring Program Enrollment and Use

Prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) are state-run electronic databases that collect information on controlled substances dispensed to patients. They are intended to help health care providers safely prescribe and monitor the use of certain drugs, including opioid pain relievers. Specifically, they seek to reduce “multiple provider episodes” (when patients visit numerous health care providers to obtain the same or similar drugs), inappropriate prescribing, prescription opioid misuse, and overdose deaths.

Experts identify prescriber enrollment and frequency of use as two key metrics to consider when evaluating PDMP utilization. Pew surveyed administrators of all operational PDMPs to obtain total enrollment of in-state prescribers to the PDMP as of December 2014, and total queries to the PDMP by prescribers and prescriber delegates for the full year. Rates of enrollment and utilization were then calculated using December 2014 data from the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Registrant Population by State and Business Activity database. This research presents a snapshot of prescriber enrollment and use across states’ PDMPs.

This analysis was updated Sept. 6, 2016, to explain how enrollment and utilization rates were calculated.


Prescriber enrollment: This measure indicates the percentage of prescribers who are enrolled to use the PDMP as a component of all DEA-registered prescribers in the state. In most states, a prescriber must have a DEA registration authorizing them to prescribe controlled substances in order to enroll to use the PDMP. The measure, therefore, enables comparisons between states regarding enrollment by the controlled substance prescriber community in each state. However, differences may, in part, reflect variability in methods used by states to calculate enrollment rates.

Prescriber use: This is a measure of prescriber and delegate utilization based on the number of user queries per enrolled in-state prescribers. The measure, therefore, enables comparisons between states with different levels of PDMP enrollment. However, differences may, in part, reflect variability in methods used by states to calculate rates of use.

Spotlight on Mental Health

Composite image of modern city network communication concept

Learn the Basics of Broadband from Our Limited Series

Sign up for our four-week email course on Broadband Basics

Quick View

How does broadband internet reach our homes, phones, and tablets? What kind of infrastructure connects us all together? What are the major barriers to broadband access for American communities?

Pills illustration
Pills illustration

What Is Antibiotic Resistance—and How Can We Fight It?

Sign up for our four-week email series The Race Against Resistance.

Quick View

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria, also known as “superbugs,” are a major threat to modern medicine. But how does resistance work, and what can we do to slow the spread? Read personal stories, expert accounts, and more for the answers to those questions in our four-week email series: Slowing Superbugs.

Explore Pew’s new and improved
Fiscal 50 interactive

Your state's stats are more accessible than ever with our new and improved Fiscal 50 interactive:

  • Maps, trends, and customizable charts
  • 50-state rankings
  • Analysis of what it all means
  • Shareable graphics and downloadable data
  • Proven fiscal policy strategies


Welcome to the new Fiscal 50

Key changes include:

  • State pages that help you keep track of trends in your home state and provide national and regional context.
  • Interactive indicator pages with highly customizable and shareable data visualizations.
  • A Budget Threads feature that offers Pew’s read on the latest state fiscal news.

Learn more about the new and improved Fiscal 50.