Whitesburg KY

Pills sold as Ultram now on KASPER list

The Cabinet for Health and Family Services Office of Inspector General (OIG) is increasing efforts to monitor the types and amounts of potentially addictive prescription drugs dispensed to Kentuckians, with Kentucky recently becoming the second state to add the drug Tramadol to its list of controlled substances.

Tramadol, which is also marketed under brand names such as Ultram and Ultracet and is intended to alleviate pain, has been added by the OIG to a list of pharmaceutical products falling under the category of “schedule IV” narcotics. These types of medications are monitored through the Kentucky All Schedule Prescription Electronic Reporting (KASPER) system, which tracks controlled substance prescriptions dispensed in Kentucky.

KASPER provides a tool for authorized health care providers to identify when a patient may have a prescription drug abuse or addiction problem where intervention is needed. KASPER also provides a tool for authorized law enforcement officers to assist with an investigation of the illegal sale or diversion of prescription drugs.

“By adding Tramadol to our list of controlled substances, we are further able to monitor and ultimately reduce the abuse, misuse, diversion and illegal sale of the drug,” said CHFS Inspector General Sadiqa Reynolds.

Reynolds stressed that by adding Tramadol to the list of controlled substances monitored by KASPER, the OIG will not be preventing those in need of the drug from obtaining it. Rather, the OIG will be working with health care providers, pharmacists and law enforcement to monitor for any potential abuse or illegal activity in relation to the drug.

“Our intent is to protect the people of Kentucky and prevent abuse,” said Reynolds.

Prescription drug abuse has increased rapidly in Kentucky since the early 1990s, particularly among drugs prescribed as painkillers.

In July 2002 the National Drug Intelligence Center reported that from 1998 through 2000, treatment for the abuse of prescription drugs accounted for 20 percent of all treatment admissions in the state, and the number of patients seeking treatment for Oxycodone addiction increased 163 percent.

KASPER, which was created to help combat the rising prescription drug abuse problem, shows all scheduled prescriptions for an individual over a specified time period, the prescriber and the dispenser in its reports. The program is intended as a source of information for health care providers and pharmacists as well as an investigative tool for law enforcement.

“KASPER is an important tool to help monitor prescription drug abuse,” said the OIG’s Dave Sallengs, manager of the Drug Enforcement and Professional Practices branch. “By adding this drug to the reporting schedule, we will be better equipped to spot potential misuse or wrong-doing. The addition of Tramadol to KASPER further enhances the system.”

KASPER is administered by the Drug Enforcement and Professional Practices Branch in the OIG. To learn more, visit the OIG’s Web site at http:// www.chfs.ky.gov/os/oig/ KASPER.htm or call (502) 564- 7985.

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