NJ Prescription Monitoring Program (NJPMP)

New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What Is The New Jersey Prescription Monitoring Program (NJPMP)?

    The New Jersey Prescription Monitoring Program (NJPMP) is an important component of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs' effort to halt the abuse and diversion of prescription drugs.

    The NJPMP, established pursuant to N.J.S.A. 45:1-45 et. seq., is a statewide database that collects prescription data on Controlled Dangerous Substances (CDS) and Human Growth Hormone (HGH) dispensed in outpatient settings in New Jersey, and by out-of-state pharmacies dispensing into New Jersey.

    Access to the NJPMP is granted to prescribers and pharmacists who are licensed by the State of New Jersey and in good standing with their respective licensing boards. Patient information in the NJPMP is intended to help prescribers and pharmacists provide better-informed patient care. The information will help supplement patient evaluations, confirm patients' drug histories, and document compliance with therapeutic regimens.

    When prescribers or pharmacists identify a patient as potentially having an issue of concern regarding drug use, they are encouraged to help the patient locate assistance and take any other action the prescriber or pharmacist deems appropriate.

    The NJPMP also serves as an effective tool for identifying those who fraudulently obtain prescription drugs or are otherwise involved in the criminal diversion of prescription medication.

    The information reported to and made available through the NJPMP will help detect individuals who may be "doctor shopping" – visiting multiple doctors to obtain prescriptions for the same medications that they then have filled at different pharmacies, in order to obtain more of the prescribed substance than any one physician or pharmacist would allow.

    The NJPMP will also aid in detecting "pill mills" – a doctor's office, clinic, or other healthcare facility that regularly colludes in the prescribing and dispensing of controlled substances outside the scope of the prevailing standards of medical practice, and in violation of New Jersey law on the prescribing and dispensing of controlled substances.

  2. Why Is The NJPMP Needed?

    The facts and statistics about prescription drug abuse are staggering:

    • In 2010, New Jersey saw 7,238 admissions to State-licensed or certified substance abuse treatment programs as a result of prescription painkiller abuse. That number represents a dramatic increase of nearly 2,000 from the previous year's admissions, and an increase of more than 5,000 from 2005, according to statewide statistics.
    • Every day, 40 Americans die from an overdose caused by prescription painkiller abuse, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Overdoses of opioid prescription drugs now kill more people in the U.S. than heroin and cocaine combined.
    • Two in five teenagers mistakenly believe prescription drugs are "much safer" than illegal drugs, according to the DEA, and three in 10 teens mistakenly believe prescription painkillers are not addictive.
    • In the United States, every day 2,500 youths take a prescription pain reliever for the purpose of getting high for the very first time, according to the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
    • The US Drug Enforcement Administration reports that prescription drugs, including opioids and antidepressants, are responsible for more overdose deaths than "street drugs" such as cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamines.
    • The number of American teenagers and adults who abuse prescription drugs is greater than those who use cocaine, hallucinogens, and heroin combined, according to the 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, compiled by the US Department of Health and Human Services.
    • In June 2011, the New Jersey State Commission of Investigation reported that a growing number of young people are abusing prescription drugs, and noted a significant trend in which the practice has led to increases, not only in the number of young people addicted to painkillers, but to the number of young people using heroin as well.

    In addition to the dangers to public health and safety, the illegal use of prescription drugs costs the insurance industry up to $72.5 billion annually. These costs affect consumers through higher insurance rates and increased co-pays.

    The abuse of prescription drugs also adds to the costs of medical care through increased emergency room visits and additional pressure on hospitals and their staff.

  3. How Can I Help Prevent Prescription Drug Abuse?

    Consumers can learn the best ways to dispose of unused medications, and to keep medications safe within their homes, at our Project Medicine Drop website.

    Project Medicine Drop offers members of the public the opportunity to dispose of their unused and expired prescription medications safely and securely, with participating municipal police departments. New Jerseyans can dispose of medication anonymously, seven days a week, 365 days a year, at any Project Medicine Drop location.

    Individuals seeking additional information about prescription drug abuse – including ways to talk with their family members about the dangers of drug abuse, and information for those struggling with addiction – can find it at our Useful Links page.

  4. Who Can Access the Data in the NJPMP?

    Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 45:1-45 et. seq., direct access to the NJPMP is limited to prescribers and pharmacists who are licensed by the State of New Jersey and in good standing with their respective licensing boards, and who have registered with Optimum Technology, the private vendor contracted to maintain the NJPMP, via the NJPMP site; the NJPMP Administrator and certain other authorized personnel of the Division of Consumer Affairs, including designated representatives of the State licensing boards that regulate the practice of persons authorized to prescribe or dispense CDS or HGH; and authorized representatives of Optimum Technology.

    The Division of Consumer Affairs may grant access to data from the NJPMP to Federal, State, or municipal law enforcement officers who are acting pursuant to a court order and who certify they are engaged in a bona fide investigation of a designated practitioner or a patient. The Division may also grant access to NJPMP data if required by a grand jury subpoena.

    The Division is required to provide certain NJPMP data, including prescriber-, pharmacist-, and/or patient-identifying information, to law enforcement agencies or professional licensing boards, if the Division determines a prescriber, pharmacist, or patient may have violated the law or committed a breach of prescribers' or pharmacists' standards of practice. The Division also may provide NJPMP data – not including patient-identifying information – to public or private entities for statistical, research, or educational purposes.

  5. What About My Right to Privacy?

    The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs and its private contractor keep NJPMP patient information strictly confidential, in compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) Privacy and Security Rules.

    Prescribers and pharmacists authorized to access the NJPMP, must certify before each search that they are seeking data solely for the purpose of providing healthcare to current patients. Authorized users agree that they will not provide access to the NJPMP to any other individuals, including members of their staff.

    A prescriber or pharmacist who accesses or discloses NJPMP information for any purpose other than providing healthcare to a current patient or verifying the NJPMP's record of prescriptions issued by the prescriber, or who allows any other individuals to access the NJPMP using the prescriber's or pharmacist's own access codes, is subject to civil penalties of up to $10,000 for each offense and disciplinary action by the prescriber's or pharmacist's professional licensing board.

    Any individual who suspects that another individual or entity has accessed or disclosed patient information in violation of the NJPMP Statute or Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) Privacy and Security Rules, should immediately contact the NJPMP Administrator at njpmp@dca.lps.state.nj.us or call the Division of Consumer Affairs at 800-242-5846.

  6. Are All Prescription Drugs Included In The NJPMP Database?

    The NJPMP database collects information only on the dispensing of drugs classified as Controlled Dangerous Substances (CDS) or Human Growth Hormone (HGH). The NJPMP does not collect data on any other drugs.

  7. How Often is the NJPMP Database Updated?

    Pharmacies must submit data to the NJPMP weekly. This requirement applies to pharmacies that dispense CDS or HGH in outpatient settings in New Jersey, and by out-of-state pharmacies dispensing CDS or HGH into New Jersey.

  8. What Information is Reported to the NJPMP?

    Pharmacies must report specific information on all transactions for prescriptions of Schedule II, III, IV, and V CDS, as well as HGH. The information must be entered via the secure NJPMP website and must include, among other things: the patient's full name and date of birth; the permit number of the dispensing pharmacy; the date at which the drug was dispensed; the name, strength, and quantity of the drug dispensed; the estimated number of days the medication will last based on the maximum number of doses per day; whether the prescription is new or a refill; if a refill, the number of refills ordered; the National Drug Code of the drug dispensed, and the prescription number assigned by the pharmacy; the name and DEA registration number of the prescriber; the date the prescription was issued by the prescriber; the unique batch and serial number of the prescription; and the method by which the patient paid for the medication.

  9. Are Prescribers and Pharmacists Required To Look Up Patients' Prescription Histories in the NJPMP?

    Prescribers and pharmacists are not required to look up a patient's data when prescribing, dispensing, or administering a drug. However, it is strongly recommended that they do so, to help them provide better-informed patient care.

    Before issuing a prescription or dispensing a prescribed drug, registered prescribers and pharmacists are able to access the NJPMP website and request the CDS and HGH prescription history of the patient. The users must certify that they are seeking information for a specific, current patient.

    Patient information in the NJPMP is intended to supplement an evaluation of a patient, confirm a patient's drug history, and document compliance with a therapeutic regimen.

    When prescribers or pharmacists identify a patient as potentially having an issue of concern regarding drug use, they are encouraged to help the patient locate assistance and take any other action the prescriber or pharmacist deems appropriate.